Daniel Torres, a 17-year-old Buena Park High School student, was killed in a Fullerton bicycle accident after he was struck by two vehicles the evening of November 24, 2008.
According to this news report in The Orange County Register, Daniel rode out of an alley into northbound traffic on Magnolia Avenue near Orangethorpe Avenue with his 13-year-old brother and a friend.
Fullerton police officials say Daniel’s brother was able to make it out to Magnolia safely and made a wide right-hand turn to get back on to the curb. Daniel made it back on to the street, but as he did so, was clipped by a Toyota sedan that was traveling north in the left lane. He was thrown off his bicycle and was almost immediately hit by a Chevy Trailblazer, which was also traveling in the left lane. Police said Daniel was not wearing a helmet and died at the scene from severe head injuries. The drivers of the Toyota and the Trailblazer have not been cited or arrested pending an investigation.
My heart goes out to the family of the Daniel Torres, especially his younger brother, who saw Daniel get struck and killed on that Fullerton Street. Daniel’s family will be in my prayers and I offer my deepest condolences for their tragic and untimely loss.
According to California Highway Patrol’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Reporting System, there were no bicycle accident related fatalities in Fullerton in 2006. However, there were 48 injuries reported as a result of bicycle accidents. In all of Orange County, there were 22 deaths and 1,005 injuries involving bicycle accidents in 2006.
If I were a member of Daniel’s family, I would want to find out exactly how this accident occurred and who was at fault. Based on this news report, I suspect that the driver of the Toyota sedan who initially “clipped” Daniel’s bicycle may either have not seen the teenager or misjudged the distance between his car and Daniel’s bicycle. It is also possible that one or both of the drivers of the two vehicles involved in this 11/24/08 auto versus bicycle collision may have been distracted at the time of the accident. I trust Fullerton police are also looking into whether the driver of the Toyota was operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If that was the case, then the driver could face criminal DUI and vehicular manslaughter charges.
I’d urge the family of Daniel Torres to contact a reputed Orange County bicycle accident attorney who will help determine who should be held responsible for this horrific accident. A skilled personal injury lawyer will also look into whether there was a dangerous condition on this Orange County roadway that posed a hazard for bicyclists or prevented motorists from having a clear view of the roadway. Please remember that any claim against a government agency in the State of California must be filed within six months of the accident.