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Teenager Killed in San Bernardino Bicycle Accident Involving Drunk Driver

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A Rancho Cucamonga boy was killed in a bicycle accident February 15, 2009 after he was run over by a suspected drunk driver, according to this news report. San Bernardino County Sheriff’s deputies have arrested 40-year-old Sandra Kent on suspicion of driving under the influence and vehicular manslaughter. Kent apparently ran over the teenager as he rode his bike across the intersection of Jasper and 19th streets. The boy was transported to a local hospital where he died.

My heart goes out to the boy’s family for their tragic and untimely loss. Here was a young boy out on his bike when he gets struck and killed by a negligent driver. Heartbreaking! I offer my deepest sympathies to his grieving parents, family members and friends. Please keep them in your prayers. The boy’s family has spoke to me personally and requested that his name be removed from this article.

I hope that our judicial system does its job with regard to Sandra Kent, the arrested driver. If she in fact is responsible for this tragic accident, I hope that our justice system treats her accordingly. Operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a crime under California law.

According to California Penal Code section 191.5 (a): “Gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated is the unlawful killing of a human being without malice aforethought, in the driving of a vehicle…and the killing was either the proximate result of the commission of an unlawful act, not amounting to a felony, and with gross negligence, or the proximate result of the commission of a lawful act that might produce death, in an unlawful manner, and with gross negligence.”

Kent must be held civilly and criminally responsible for her actions, which to say the least were irresponsible and negligent. The teenager’s family would be well-advised to retain the services of a reputed California bicycle accident attorney, who will explain their rights and options, including pursuing Kent’s insurance company for the appropriate legal compensation. A professional personal injury lawyer will also look into whether there was a dangerous condition at that Rancho Cucamonga intersection. If that is the case, then the city or governmental agency responsible for maintaining that roadway could also be held liable. Please remember that any claim against a governmental agency must be properly filed within six months of the accident.

Our firm has held governmental agencies such as cities financially liable in auto accident cases where the accident occurred because the public entity failed to address a dangerous condition on the roadway. Most recently, we settled with the City of Hanford for $15 million in benefits for a 14-year-old boy (age at the time of the accident). The boy suffered severe brain injuries in a bicycle accident after he was struck at a dangerous Hanford intersection. Although the young man survived the accident, he will sadly, remain a dependent in need of full-time care for the rest of his life.

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