Leopoldo Aguirre, 67, was fatally injured in a Santa Ana car accident after he was hit by a vehicle at a street intersection, the evening of November 4, 2012. According to a news report in The Orange County Register, the pedestrian accident occurred at Raitt Street and Monte Vista. Police say Aguirre was transported to an area trauma center where he died from his injuries that night. The driver of the Ford Taurus that struck Aguirre remained at the scene. Alcohol did not appear to have been a factor and no arrests or citations were reported.
I offer my deepest condolences to the family members and friends of Leopoldo Aguirre for their tragic and heartbreaking loss. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
Pedestrian Crash Statistics
According to California Highway Patrol’s 2010 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), there were six fatalities and 134 injuries involving pedestrian accidents in Santa Ana. During the same year, 32 people died and 770 were injured due to Orange County pedestrian accidents.
Based on this news article, it appears that Aguirre was crossing at the intersection, but it is not clear if he was in a crosswalk. Under California law, motorists are required to yield the right of way to pedestrians who are walking in a marked or unmarked crosswalk.
California Vehicle Code Section 21950 states: “The driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within any marked crosswalk or within any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection.” The same section also states that the driver of a vehicle approaching a pedestrian within any marked or unmarked crosswalk “shall exercise all due care and shall reduce the speed of a vehicle or take any other action relating to the operating of the vehicle as necessary to safeguard the safety of the pedestrian.”
Fault and Liability
I trust officials are looking into whether the driver failed to yield the right-of-way or was inattentive, distracted or speeding at the time. If the driver is determined to have been at fault, he or she could be held liable for the pedestrian’s wrongful death. If it is determined that a dangerous condition on the roadway caused or contributed to the incident, the city or governmental agency responsible for maintaining the roadway can also be held liable. Under California Vehicle Code 911.2, any personal injury or wrongful death claim against a governmental entity must be filed within 180 days of the incident. An experienced Santa Ana personal injury lawyer will be able to better advise injured victims or their families regarding their legal rights and options.