Michelle Landes, 54, was killed in a pedestrian accident in Burbank, which officials say, involved a driver who may have been under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. According to a KTLA news report, Landes, a Disney employee who works as a cast member, was walking in a marked crosswalk at Alameda Avenue and Lincoln Street the morning of September 7, 2017 when she was hit. The vehicle hit Landes and struck three other vehicles. Landes was pronounced dead at a local hospital.
The driver, 37-year-old Stergios Economos, was arrested on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated. KTLA reported that Los Angeles County inmate records show multiple arrests by Burbank police within the past two years for a man matching Economos’ name and age. Police are still investigating the matter.
Our heartfelt condolences go out to the family members of Michelle Landes and other cast members who were traumatized by witnessing this fatal pedestrian accident. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
DUI and Vehicular Manslaughter
Based on this news report, the pedestrian was legally crossing in a marked crosswalk when she was struck. Under California Vehicle Code Section 21950 (a), motorists are required to yield the right of way to pedestrians who are walking in a marked or unmarked crosswalk. In fact, motorists are required to slow down and come to a stop at a crosswalk when pedestrians are walking across and pass through only when it is safe to do so.
Driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs is also illegal under California Vehicle Code 23152 (a). A driver whose act of driving under the influence results in the death of another will likely face vehicular manslaughter charges under California Penal Code section 191.5 (a), as Economos does in this case.
Wrongful Death Lawsuit
In such cases where traffic accident deaths are caused by negligence or wrongdoing, families of deceased victims can file what is known as a wrongful death lawsuit. These civil actions are filed by survivors of the decedent against the at-fault parties. Wrongful death lawsuits seek monetary compensation for damages and losses including medical and funeral costs, lost future income, pain and suffering and loss of love and companionship.
A knowledgeable Los Angeles car accident lawyer will also be able to determine whether a dangerous roadway or intersection caused or contributed the incident. If that was the case, the city or governmental agency responsible for maintaining the roadway can also be held liable. Under California Government Code Section 911.2, any such claim against a governmental agency must be filed within 180 days of the incident.