Latrelle Pearson, 10, and 9-year-old Xavier Williams were fatally injured in a car crash in San Diego, which officials say may have been caused by an unsafe lane change. According to a City News Service report, the fatal crash occurred in the southbound lanes of the Interstate 15 near Escondido, the afternoon of July 15, 2012. California Highway Patrol officials say that a 2002 Dodge Caravan minivan carrying seven passengers including the two boys, collided with a 2008 Scion. The minivan spun out and overturned north of Deer Springs Road.
Latrelle, who officials say was not buckled up, was thrown onto the roadway. Xavier, who was wearing a seatbelt, was partially ejected. Both boys died at the scene. The driver of the Caravan, Roy Ruffin Jr., 52, sustained non-life threatening injuries. Four other passengers in the minivan were transported to area hospitals for evaluation and treatment. Lisa Wehus, 24, the driver of the Scion, was not injured. Officials are still looking into the exact cause of the crash, but say that it may have been caused by an attempted lane change on the part of one of the two drivers.
I offer my deepest condolences to the family members and friends of Latrelle Pearson and Xavier Williams for their devastating loss. My heart also goes out to the injured victims of this collision. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
San Diego Crash Statistics
According to CHP’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), there were 12 fatalities and 711 injuries involving car accidents in Escondido in 2009. In San Diego County as a whole, 217 people died and 12,998 were injured due to traffic collisions, during the same year.
Possible Unsafe Lane Change
Based on this news report, officials say that this tragic accident may have been caused by one of the drivers making an unsafe lane change. California Vehicle Code Section 21658 (a) states that whenever a roadway has been divided into two or more clearly marked lanes for traffic in one direction the vehicle “shall be driven as nearly as practical entirely within a single lane and shall not be moved from the lane until such movement can be made with reasonable safety.”
Protecting Victims’ Rights
In addition, the report states that Latrelle was ejected and Xavier was partially ejected. Officials have confirmed that Xavier was buckled up, but was still ejected. It is important in such cases for an expert to thoroughly examine the vehicle to ensure that the victims were not ejected due to a defective seatbelt. Injured victims or families of deceased victims would be well advised to contact an experienced San Diego personal injury lawyer, who will stay abreast of the official investigation and ensure that their legal rights and best interests are protected.