Archives for : February2014

Accident Victims Killed; Officer Rejects Plea Deal

Santa Rosa residents are used to seeing the California Highway Patrol out doing their duty to serve and protect. However, sometimes, the attempt to keep people safe can have the opposite effect. This was the case with a recent accident that resulted in the death of two people, and a CHP officer being charged as a result.

On Dec. 16, 2011, a CHP officer was traveling at a high rate of speed on Norris Road in Bakersfield. According to authorities, the officer was doing over 80 mph. The posted speed limit for that area is 45 mph. The officer was allegedly responding to a call regarding a stolen vehicle.

According to the officer, he was fumbling for his radio to get permission to turn on his lights and siren when he struck two people as they were crossing the road and pushing a motorcycle. The officer hit his breaks moments before impact, and was believed to have been traveling at 60 mph when he struck the pair. The man and woman who were struck were killed on impact.

The officer has been charged with two counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence. He was offered a plea deal of two years in prison in exchange for a no contest plea. The officer rejected the deal and is scheduled to head for trial. If convicted, the officer could have seven years in prison ahead of him.

Investigators have already determined that the pair that was struck and killed were not at fault for the accident. With this information, the officer would not have to be convicted of a criminal act to be held financially responsible for the accident victims’ death. An experienced legal representative can help anyone who has been wronged by another seek damages for injuries and losses.

Source: Bakersfield Californian, “Deputy rejects plea deal, scheduled for trial in case where two pedestrians killed” Jason Kotowski, Feb. 27, 2014

Van, Suv Collide In California, Mother And Four Children Killed

It goes without saying that people do not get behind the wheel of a car with the intention of causing an accident that injures or kills another person. However, humans can make mistakes that result in these types of tragedies. Our Santa Rosa readers will be sad to hear about a car accident in Fresno that killed a mother and her four children.

The accident happened on Feb. 15. A 41-year-old woman driving a minivan ran a stop sign and collided with an SUV driven by a 29-year-old woman. There were also four children in the SUV, aged 1, 3, 6 and 11.

The collision sent the SUV across the intersection. The vehicle then burst into the flames, with the mother and children still inside. All five were pronounced dead at the scene.

According to authorities, the father was following behind the SUV in another car. The father of the children was burned as he tried to free them from the engulfed vehicle. The man did not witness the accident, but came to the scene moments after the accident happened.

Authorities stated that neither vehicle seemed to be speeding when the accident occurred. They also do not suspect the woman driving the minivan was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The accident is still under investigation and it has not been determined whether charges will be filed.

Whether or not the woman faces criminal charges for the accident, she could still be held financially responsible for it. The surviving family members would be within their rights to seek compensation for expenses related to the accident, as well as pain and suffering and loss of companionship. An experienced legal professional could detail what rights the family might have if they choose to seek financial relief.

Source: Chicago Tribune, “Mother, four children killed in fiery car crash in California” Victoria Cavaliere, Feb. 16, 2014

San Francisco Man Involved In A Hit-and-run Accident

A tragic accident that took the life of a San Francisco, California, pedestrian has resulted in several charges for the driver. The victim, from Newry Northern Ireland, is remembered by friends as a generous man and one who enjoyed a joke. He worked for a non-profit organization that takes care of microloans around the globe as a loan review and translation coordinator.

He was fluent in Spanish and French and was studying Russian when he was killed. He was the manager for approximately 400 volunteers from around the world. The man, who jokingly said he wanted a job that allowed him to help the most people without wearing a tie, was planning a trip to Ecuador to meet people who had received the microloans.

The death was not the only tragedy that came to his family. His cousin, who was also from Northern Ireland, was involved as a pedestrian in a fatal hit-and-run accident in New York City last year. Another incident that happened to the family was that his aunt was raped and beaten to death. The murderer was put in prison for 20 years.

In this case, he was driving a rented vehicle at a high rate of speed when he struck killed the translator the victim. The driver was found to have other people’s credit cards with him, which led to charge of receiving stolen property. He was also charged with hit-and-run and vehicular manslaughter. He was already out on bail for robbery charges stemming from asking pedestrians to use their cellphones and then speeding off in his car with the phones.

This tragedy of personal injury could happen to anyone. If a loved one has suffered this way, you have rights that can be addressed in court. It may be a good idea to contact a skilled attorney who can guide you through the legal process and might be able to help you get compensation.

Source: S F Gate, “Pedestrian killed in S.F. had lost cousin to hit-run” Kale Williams, Feb. 14, 2014

Parents Sue Owner Of California Detox Center For Son’s Death

A California detox facility was shut down for a number of severe violations. However, that move by the state did not come soon enough to save the life of a man who died there in 2012. Now his mother has filed a wrongful death suit against the former owner of the West Coast Detox Center.

The mother says they had sought a “medical detox” treatment center for their son, who was battling alcoholism. She says the staff at the West Coast Detox Center portrayed the center as a medical facility, and said a physician would see her son. However, the center was licensed as a “nonmedical residential facility.” Within a few days after he checked in, the San Juan Capistrano man was dead.

According to the plaintiffs, staff members gave her son anti-withdrawal medications from their supply of “dead meds” – pills that belonged to previous clients. Further, she contends that her son got on a ladder and was able to reach these medications on his own. Staff allegedly caught him doing this twice. The parents claim that no one reported the first incident. The second time, when the man confessed to taking some opiates he had accessed, they reportedly contacted the facility’s owner, but not a doctor.

According to the suit, the staff chose to keep an eye on the man after he took the pills, even though he allegedly was clearly “incoherent” and under the influence. The next day, her son’s roommate found him in a deteriorated state. He was “slumped over with blood coming from his mouth.” He died before emergency responders reached him.

The lawsuit does not request a specific dollar amount. The mother accuses the owner of breach of contract, fraud and wrongful death, as well as violations of California laws that govern detox facilities. She says the suit is about holding the owner accountable for her son’s death. She contends that he was “not forthcoming” about her son’s death, and that she only learned the details when the California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs opened an investigation. The agency found a multitude of violations that led to the facility’s closure.

While this is not a traditional premises liability suit, it does, like other such suits, involve alleged negligence by a business that, according to the plaintiffs, led directly to a death. Such suits are necessary to hold businesses accountable for harm that occurs because of the negligence of businesses and their employees.

Source: Fountain Valley Patch, “Mom of Man who Died in O.C. Detox Home Sues for Wrongful Death” Penny Arévalo, Feb. 04, 2014