Police say an unlicensed driver was looking at her cell phone when she struck and killed 65-year-old Yong Do Kim who was crossing the street in Westlake the night of Jan. 23. According to a CBS Los Angeles news report, Kim was walking in a marked crosswalk on 6th Street near MacArthur Park when the vehicle struck him. The impact of the collision caused him to be thrown 30 to 40 feet.
Police say the driver, 38-year-old Rosario Valdezinda, was looking at WhatsApp messages on her phone and traveling at about 30 to 35 mph. Valdezinda is an unlicensed driver and a resident of Los Angeles police say. Police have arrested her on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter and are investigating a report that she attempted to flee the scene, but was stopped by a group of witnesses who got in front of her car.
We offer our deepest condolences to the family members and friends of Yong Do Kim for their tragic and heartbreaking loss. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
Distracted Driving Accidents
According to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving kills an average of nine people and injures 1,000 every day in the United States. According to research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety conducted in March 2018, 45 percent of drivers admitted to reading a text or email while driving in the last month and 35 percent admitted to having typed one. Texting is considered to be the worst form of distraction while driving because it takes the driver’s hands off the wheel, eyes off the road and attention away from the act of driving.
Distracted driving is negligent driving. In addition to facing criminal charges, distracted drivers can also be held civilly liable for the injuries, damages and losses they cause. Families that have lost loved ones may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault driver seeking compensation for damages such as medical expenses, funeral costs, pain and suffering, lost future income and loss of love, care and companionship.
A knowledgeable Los Angeles car accident lawyer will also be able to determine whether a dangerous or defective roadway caused or contributed to the incident. If that was the case, the governmental entity responsible for maintaining the roadway can also be held accountable. Please remember that any personal injury or wrongful death claim against a governmental agency must be filed within 180 days of the incident.