A 14-year-old boy was killed and four other teens suffered injuries in a Los Angeles auto versus pedestrian accident on December 1, 2008. This horrific accident occurred when a van jumped a curb and slammed into a bus shelter in South Gate. The 12/1/08 crash occurred on Firestone Boulevard and Otis Street at a bus stop across the street from South Gate Middle School just minutes after school had let out. The driver of the out-of-control black Chevrolet van was identified as 18-year-old Eduardo Rojo of South Gate. Our source for this blog is this news report in the Los Angeles Times.
The 14-year-old boy was taken to an area hospital where he later passed away. The four other teenagers suffered non life threatening injuries. Los Angeles Police Department officials said Rojo’s passenger leaped out of the van and fled the scene as soon as the crash occurred. In addition to the five students who were struck, one other student fainted at the sight of the crash and suffered a minor head injury.
A McDonald’s security camera, which apparently caught the entire episode, showed that the van plowed into the bus shelter causing the shelter’s roof to collapse. The van’s driver also struck a utility pole. Officials say the van had been traveling west on Firestone when the driver lost control and ended up on the sidewalk. Investigators are looking into whether drugs or alcohol may have played a part in this horrific crash.
My heart goes out the family of the 14-year-old boy who was killed in this tragedy. My prayers go out to the other teens who were injured and the 25 or so children who happened to witness this frightening incident. I offer my condolences to the family of the deceased boy and wish the injured victims the very best for a quick and complete recovery. It will take a while before those who witnessed this incident to recover emotionally. Please keep all these children in your prayers.
There are many unanswered questions here, which I trust the police investigation will soon sort out. The driver could have lost control because he was an inexperienced driver or if he had been operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This accident could have also been caused by a mechanical malfunction or an inherent product defect in the Chevy van. I’d urge the victims’ families to contact an experienced Southern California personal injury lawyer who will identify the negligent parties and help hold them responsible for this fatal accident. A skilled personal injury lawyer will also look into whether there was a dangerous condition on that Los Angeles roadway, which may have contributed to this tragic crash. If that’s the case, the government agency responsible for maintaining the roadway could be held liable. Please remember that any claim against a government agency must be promptly filed within six months of the accident.