Joshua Schmittou, 26, suffered critical injuries in a Temecula car accident after he was struck by a vehicle at a street intersection while skateboarding. According to a news report in The Press-Enterprise, the major injury collision occurred the night of November 7, 2012 at Winchester and Ynez roads.
Police say Schmittou was riding his skateboard across Winchester when an eastbound vehicle driven by Sandra Orlaski hit him. The driver remained at the scene. Schmittou was transported to an area hospital for treatment of his injuries. Alcohol or drugs are not believed to have been factors. Anyone who saw this collision is asked to contact Riverside County Sheriff at 951-696-3000.
My thoughts and prayers go out to Joshua Schmittou who has suffered severe injuries in this crash. I wish him the very best for a speedy and complete recovery.
According to California Highway Patrol’s 2010 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), there were no fatalities, but seven injuries reported involving pedestrian accidents in Temecula. In Riverside County as a whole, 32 people died and 349 were injured as a result of pedestrian accidents during the same year.
Who Had the Right-of-Way?
Based on this news account, it appears that Schmittou was riding his skateboard at the intersection of Winchester and Ynez roads when he was struck. That intersection is a large one controlled by traffic lights. There are also marked crosswalks at this intersection, but it is not clear if Schmittou was crossing in a crosswalk at the time he was hit.
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
If the driver is determined to have been at fault here, she could be held liable for the serious injuries caused. In such cases if the driver was on the job, his or her employer can also be held liable. If a dangerous condition at the intersection caused or contributed to the incident, the city or governmental agency responsible for maintaining the roadway can be held responsible. Please remember that any personal injury claim against a California governmental entity must be filed within 180 days of the incident. An experienced Riverside personal injury lawyer will be able to better advise injured victims and their families regarding their legal rights and options.