Zachary Butcher, 20, of Lake Forest, was fatally injured in a Riverside County car accident after the pickup truck in which he was a passenger rolled over, the night of March 14, 2012. According to a news report in The Orange County Register, the fatal rollover crash occurred on the Ortega Highway near Decker Canyon Road in Lake Elsinore. California Highway Patrol officials said 21-year-old Delbert Parada was driving a 2005 Ford F-150 when he lost control while trying to negotiate a curve. He then overcorrected causing the truck to roll over. Another vehicle crashed into the truck after it overturned on the highway. Butcher, who was sitting in the left rear passenger seat of the truck, died from his injuries. It is not clear if anyone else was injured here. The investigation is ongoing.
I offer my deepest condolences to the family members and friends of Zachary Butcher for their tragic and heartbreaking loss. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
Riverside County Car Accidents
According to the CHP's 2009 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), there were five fatalities and 144 injuries involving car accidents in Lake Elsinore. In Riverside County as a whole, 203 people died and 7,974 were injured in car accidents, during the same year.
Laws and Liability Issues
Based on this news report, it appears that the driver failed to negotiate a curve and lost control of the pickup truck. Investigators say alcohol was not a factor. However, there is no mention of whether speed played a role in in this fatal crash. California Vehicle Code Section 22350 (Basic Speed Law) states: "No person shall drive a vehicle upon a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable or prudent having due regard for weather, visibility, the traffic and on surface and width of, the highway, and in no event at a speed which endangers the safety of persons or property."
If Parada is determined to have been at fault in this case, he could be held liable for Butcher's wrongful death. I trust officials are looking into whether reckless driving, speed, distracted driving, fatigue, inattention, or some other form of negligence may have caused or contributed to this accident. In such cases, injured victims and families of deceased victims would be well advised to contact an experienced Riverside personal injury lawyer, who will stay abreast of the official investigation and ensure that their legal rights and best interests are protected.