Nehalah May, a 9-year-old girl was killed in a May 10, 2009 Washington car-motorcycle accident after the motorcycle she was riding on crashed into another vehicle. According to a KXLY news report, 51-year-old Robin Scholz of Colfax was riding a 2003 Harley Davidson motorcycle on northbound Highway 195 with Nehalah when 89-year-old Esther Mae Westlund who was driving south on the highway made a left turn at Meadow lane, in front of Scholz. Washington State Patrol officials say Scholz probably did not have sufficient time to stop the motorcycle before striking Westlund’s 1986 Oldsmobile.
Nehalah May was taken to an area hospital where she later died. Scholz also suffered serious personal injuries. Westlund was uninjured and was cited at the scene for second degree negligent driving. Troopers say Westlund caused the fatal car versus motorcycle crash by failing to yield right of way to Scholz’s Harley. Both Scholz and Nehalah May were wearing helmets at the time of the Spokane motorcycle-car accident.
My heart goes out to the family of young Nehalah May for their tragic and heartbreaking loss. It’s extremely unfortunate that this little girl died because of another driver’s negligence. I offer my deepest sympathies to everybody who knew and loved Nehalah. I also wish Robin Scholz the very best for a quick and complete recovery. Please keep them in your prayers.
According to the Washington Department of Transportation’s 2007 traffic accident statistics, there were a total of 68 fatalities and 460 major personal injuries involving motorcycle accidents in Washington State. Out of the fatalities, a majority (62) involved drivers and four involved passengers. Also, 2,031 drivers and 171 passengers suffered injuries as a result of motorcycle collisions in 2007.
In this particular case, it is quite evident that the driver of the Buick, Esther Mae Westlund — was at fault for failing to yield the right of way to Scholz. The Revised Code of Washington (RCW 46.61.185) states: “The driver of a vehicle intending to turn to the left within an intersection or into an alley, private road, or driveway shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction which is within the intersection or so close thereto as to constitute an immediate hazard.”
There is no question that Westlund should be held liable. But experienced Washington personal injury attorneys will also be able to look into other factors including a dangerous roadway condition that may have caused or contributed to the motorcycle accident. If that was the case, the governmental agency responsible for maintaining that section of the roadway could also be held liable.