57-year-old Richard Skala of Lakewood was critically injured after crashing his car into a Seal Beach railroad crossing on October 22, 2008. The 10/22/08 accident occurred after Skala rammed his silver Ford Focus into a railroad crossing on Westminster Avenue near Seal Beach Boulevard. Our source for this blog is a news report in The Orange County Register.
Skala hit the curb and the impact launched him into the crossing signal, which is only used sometimes by the Seal Beach Naval Weapons Station to transport weapons. Police traffic investigators have not been able to determine yet whether speed was a factor in the crash. The speed limit in that section of Westminster Boulevard is 55 mph.
I’m relieved that Richard Skala has survived this horrific crash. Please keep Skala and his family in your prayers as they go through this tough time. I wish him the very best for a speedy and complete recovery.
I would be interested to see the results of the investigation into this crash. The speed limit in that portion of Westminster Boulevard is high; 55 mph. I would be curious to find out if there were enough warning signs posted at this railroad crossing to warn motorists and if the arm was working properly. I’d look into whether Skala had sufficient warning or the time to slow down and come to a complete stop before the arm came down. If he didn’t and the arm of the railroad crossing was defective because it had not been maintained or repaired, then the agency responsible for maintaining that railroad crossing could be held liable for this tragic accident.
I’d urge Richard Skala and his family to seek the counsel of an experienced Orange County auto accident attorney, who is well-versed with railroad accident cases. A skilled personal injury lawyer will be able to look into the various factors that played a role in this crash and determine if there was any negligence involved.