California Highway Patrol Officer Anthony Pedeferri’s life was transformed in a fraction of a second. The 36-year-old veteran motorcycle officer, father of two young girls and a fierce competitor in eight triathlons this year, is now fighting for his life after being struck by a drunk driver on Highway 101 while he was talking to a driver he had just pulled over, according to a news report in the Ventura County Star.
The driver, who was said to be operating his vehicle under the influence, has been charged with felony DUI, vehicular manslaughter, possession of marijuana for sale and transporting marijuana, the newspaper reported. According to the article, the incident occurred when the officer pulled over a small SUV onto the right shoulder. When Pedeferri was talking to the driver of the SUV, White’s large pickup truck, for unexplained reasons, veered off the center lane on to the shoulder and into the back of the SUV.
Pedeferri was knocked out of his boots and thrown 20 yards into the brush on the side of the highway. The impact of the crash also reportedly started a fire and sent the two vehicles spinning into the center lanes. A woman, who had previously worked as a dispatcher in the Ontario Police Department, was a true hero in the incident. She was the one who saw the officer’s boots at the scene, tracked him to the bushes and called the 911 dispatcher so he got immediate help, the newspaper reported.
White, a student at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, seemed distraught at the incident, was in tears and reportedly told the people at the scene he had no idea why his pickup suddenly swerved. But officers say there appear to be no mechanical problems with the pickup so far. As far as the roadway, there seemed to be no dangerous conditions or curves. There were three straight lanes and traffic was reportedly light at the time of the incident.
Pedeferri’s colleagues at the CHP are still trying to come to terms with this tragedy. Athletes who trained with Pedeferri told the newspaper about how he trained daily for years to stay in top physical shape and compete at prestigious triathlons all around the country. On some days, which he would take off as vacation, he would train for as long as eight hours at a stretch.
For co-workers at the CHP, this type of tragedy is all too familiar. They know it’s a dangerous job and getting struck by a passing vehicle is part of the occupational hazard and yet, Pedeferri’s condition has shaken them up. According to the CHP, getting hit while in the middle of a traffic stop or while helping a motorist are the most common causes of officer injuries or deaths.
While at this point there seems to be no apparent malfunction in White’s pickup truck, Pedeferri’s family should get control of the vehicle and have it inspected for defects and/or failures. It is definitely an important piece of evidence. Most likely, the CHP will do a thorough job of inspecting the pickup for defects. If there are any defects or mechanical failures, the family needs to be sure the vehicle is preserved and treated as an important piece of evidence.
If such a defect surfaces as a result of the investigation, the family will also benefit immensely by hiring a reputed personal injury firm that specializes in auto product defect lawsuits. Getting such a team on their side early on will make sure that their rights are protected. If there is indeed a product defect that caused the crash, a competent personal injury attorney can help the family get the compensation they rightfully deserve.
The officer’s friends describe him as a fighter. We sincerely hope he battles his way through this tough situation. We pray for his speedy recovery from these serious injuries and the welfare of his young family.