Raquel Fuerte, a 58-year-old Santa Paula woman who had recently been knocked down and left seriously injured by a hit-and-run driver in Ventura County, has now died. According to this news report in the Ventura County Star, Fuerte suffered the fatal injuries in a car versus pedestrian collision the evening of January 6, 2009 at Santa Paula Street near Blanchard Avenue.
Apparently Fuerte was walking in the bike lane of Santa Paula Street for reasons not known at this point when she was struck down by what witnesses have described as a dark-colored BMW or Honda Accord. The driver of the vehicle fled the accident scene and is still being sought by authorities. If you have any information about this collision or were a witness to it, please call Sgt. Ismael Cordero or Detective Kenneth Clark at 525-4474. Fuerte, who had been in an area hospital after the incident, has now succumbed to her blunt-force head injuries, said Michael Tellez, a Ventura County deputy medical examiner.
I offer my deepest sympathies to the family of Raquel Fuerte. Judging by the comments to this news article, she was clearly a well known and much loved resident. Please keep this family in your prayers.
I trust this callous hit-and-run driver will be apprehended by the authorities and held both criminally and civilly responsible for this horrific hit and run pedestrian accident and causing Fuerte’s death. According to the California Vehicle Code Section 20001 (a): “The driver of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury to a person, other than himself or herself, or in the death of a person shall immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the accident.” There is no doubt that this hit-and -run driver will face criminal charges. If it should turn out the driver who hit her was operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs, then that person will most likely face criminal vehicular manslaughter and felony DUI charges as well.
I’d advise the Fuerte family to consult immediately with an established Ventura County pedestrian accident law firm to thoroughly understand their legal rights and options in this case. An experienced personal injury attorney should fully investigate the circumstances of this collision and determine why Fuerte was in the bike lane. If it is found that roadway design had contributed to this fatal accident then the governmental agency responsible for maintaining this roadway could be held liable. A knowledgeable attorney will fight to secure just compensation for the family from all the negligent parties involved.