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Motorist’s Illegal U-Turn Kills Motorcyclist in Fatal San Diego Crash

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A 55-year-old motorcyclist was killed after a van driver made an illegal U-turn in his path on a San Diego street, according to a news report on Channel 10’s Web site. Robert Hugh Reed of Sacramento died at the scene from severe injuries he suffered in the crash, the news station reports.

The motorcycle accident occurred at about 4:30 p.m. Saturday in the 3000 block of Valley Road when a 40-year-old woman driving a van reportedly made an illegal U-turn right in front of Reed. The van driver, who has not yet been identified, was not injured in the crash. Officials are still investigating the crash, but the report says they are considering possibly filing vehicular manslaughter charges.

This appears to be another classic case of drivers not seeing motorcycle riders. This woman would not have made the U-turn had she seen the motorcyclist. And of course, he had no time to stop in time to avoid the fatal crash. Now, an innocent man is dead and an unsuspecting woman could be facing vehicular manslaughter charges. In fact, our law firm represented a client who survived such as crash. Ron Gowell was seriously hurt and is still trying to recover from injuries caused by an Orange County motorcycle accident. A woman made an illegal U-turn in his path on a Santa Ana street. The accident threw a wrench in the Gowells’ retirement plans and turned their lives upside down.

These days, we also observe that the profile of the motorcycle accident victim has changed. Traditionally, motorcycle casualties involved teenagers out of high school. But those demographics have been graying over the years, according to this recent article in the San Diego Union Tribune. According to this article, in 1997, 19 percent of motorcyclists killed in the United States were ages 40 to 49. But in 2006, that number had risen to 23 percent. The percentages also increased in the 50-59 and the 59-plus age groups. That’s because the median age of motorcycle owners in the country rose from 27 in 1985 to 41 in 2003, the article states.

Apparently, riding motorcycles is a great pastime and social activity for baby boomers, but studies also show that older riders are likely to suffer more debilitating injuries or take longer to recover from injuries suffered. The lesson in this story, however, is for drivers to pay attention to the road and constantly watch out for motorcyclists in addition to other traffic. And remember, being on a cell phone or doing other activities while driving only distracts you further and increases your risk of getting in an accident.

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  • Sean

    What do you see happening to this lady, given that the loss of life was do to her making the illegal U-turn?

  • Frank Gastelum

    Interesting. I appreciate your blog. I live in San Diego. Approximately an hour ago I was almost involved in an accident involving that same scenario. I was riding my motorcycle behind a Mercedes SUV and she proceeded to make an illegal u-turn in front of me. Fortunately I was allowing a safe following distance and I avoided the accident. However, she caught up with ME and told me, “how dare you endanger my life like that!” I know, that’s exactly what I was thinking. I proceeded to inform her that what she had just done was actually illegal. She responded with, “no it’s not, it’s called a turn-around”. I told her to “look it up, it is illegal”. The nicest part was how she closed with, “The next time you endanger my life, I’m taking you out!” People are so nice, aren’t they? I can’t believe she was that nice AND drove a brand new Mercedes, AND didn’t know how to drive and thought she was an authority : ) Be safe out there brothers and sisters!

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