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Girl Killed, Mother Injured in Orange County Big Rig Accident

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A big rig crash claimed the life of a 5-year-old and injured her mother about 12:45 p.m. Saturday afternoon on Interstate 5 (Santa Ana Freeway) in Cerritos, according to the California Highway Patrol as reported by CBS2 on their website.

Byron A. Vasquez, 26-years-old, was driving a big rig on the Santa Ana (5) Freeway when he swerved the truck from right to left and crashed into the right side of a 2007 Ford Focus that was occupied by Natalie Marrot, 42-years-old, and her daughter, both from Utah. The collision pushed the Ford Focus into the center guardrail, according to the CHP. Vasquez was not arrested.

Natalie Marrott suffered major injuries and was taken to a local hospital. Her daughter, who’s name has yet to be released, died at the scene, according to a CHP officer. According to the Coroner’s office, the child died, even though properly restrained due to the severity of the impact between the big rig and the Ford Focus.

There is a lot about this story that doesn’t sound right. If Natalie Marrott’s daughter was properly secured in the Ford Focus, what caused her death? I suggest that the family retain the Ford Focus for evidence (do not allow it to be altered in any way) and have it inspected by a law firm specializing in auto defect cases. We and many other law firms have sued Ford over injuries sustained by Focus occupants due to failures in the vehicle’s safety, restraint and seat systems. Something went terribly wrong and Ford could be partially at fault.

The news article did not state who owned the truck Vasquez was driving. However, I’d be willing to bet that the truck’s owner and the owner’s insurance company have investigators working the case already. They will be gathering evidence and building their defense before Natalie Marrott is even out of the hospital. The Marrott family needs to get a law firm on their side gathering and protecting evidence for them as well.

If Vasquez was on the job at the time of the accident, his employer will be just as financially responsible for Natalie’s injuries and her daughter’s death as Vasquez apparently is. Even though the family lives in Utah, California law will apply, since the accident occurred in California. A lawsuit could be filed in California, where Vasquez resides or where Vasquez’s employer operates from.

In a big rig accident in Laguna Niguel on May 4, 2007, three children died. The Orange County District Attorney’s office charged the truck’s driver, Jorge Miguel Romero, 37-yeas-old of Apple Valley, with three misdemeanor counts of vehicular manslaughter involving criminal negligence. Romero’s arraignment is Thursday at the Harbor Justice Center in Laguna Niguel. If convicted Romero faces up to three years in jail according to the O.C. DA’s website (http://www.orangecountyda.com/home/index.asp?page=8&recordid=650).

Will Vasquez be charged with vehicular manslaughter? Will the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office be as aggressive as Orange County’s District Attorney has been in charging negligent driver’s in fatal commercial truck accident cases? We will wait and see.

Please keep the Marrott family in your prayers.

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  • Jack

    I saw the remnants of this accident on the way to Oceanside this weekend. The car in question was smashed into the concrete barrier and flattened from the side. There was probably only 3 feet of width left to the car. Sad and scary, truckers should be held to HIGH standards for driving awareness because there is nothing cars can do in those situations.

  • Dan Moreno

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