California Highway Patrol officials have arrested 36-year-old Sean Matthew Walker in connection with a crash that killed CHP Officer Kirk Griess and Jaime Bueza Manuel, 49, a man who was pulled over on the side of the road. According to a CBS13 news report, Officer Griess had pulled over Manual when a vehicle driven by Walker struck and killed both of them. Walker faces two charges of gross vehicular manslaughter and one count of reckless driving resulting in a fatality. CHP officials say the accident was a combination of reckless and distracted driving and that Walker was using his cell phone when he crashed into the two men.
Our heartfelt condolences go out to the families of both Officer Griess and Jaime Manual for their tragic loss. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
The Problem of Distracted Driving
Distracted driving claimed 3,450 lives in 2016 alone. Driver distraction is reported to be responsible for more than 58 percent of teen crashes. In 2015, 391,000 injuries were caused in distracted driving related accidents. Use of smart phones is believed to be responsible for a majority of major injury crashes involving a distracted driver. However, any type of distraction while driving can be a problem. Any activity that takes your hands off the wheel, eyes off the road and attention away from the act of driving can be extremely dangerous.
Distracted driving amounts to negligent driving. If you cause a fatal crash or major injury collision while distracted, you could be held financially responsible for the injuries and damages you cause in addition to facing criminal charges. Families that have lost loved ones may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit seeking compensation for damages such as medical expenses, funeral costs, lost future income, pain and suffering and loss of love and companionship.
An experienced California car accident lawyer will be able to help victims and their families hold the at-fault driver accountable. Distracted driving crashes can be avoided when motorists make the promise to focus all their attention on the roadway instead of talking on the phone, texting or being engaged in social media. Every text you read or social media post you look at may be putting you, your passengers and others on the roadway in grave danger. It’s simply not worth it.