Dustin Rogers Martin, 17, was killed in a San Bernardino County pedestrian accident after he was struck by a hit-and-run driver. According to a news report in the San Bernardino Sun, Dustin was riding a skateboard on Cottonwood Avenue near Poplar Street the morning of June 15, 2009 when he was hit by a sedan. The driver, Kenneth Stotelmyre, left the scene, but later returned with his father. Stotelmyre has been arrested on suspicion of felony hit-and-run.
My heart goes out to the family and friends of Dustin Rogers Martin for their heartbreaking and tragic loss. I offer my deepest condolences to everyone who knew and loved this young man. Please keep them in your prayers.
According to California Highway Patrol’s 2007 traffic accident statistics, there were four fatalities and seven injuries involving pedestrian accidents in Hesperia. In San Bernardino County as a whole, 50 fatalities and 432 personal injuries involving pedestrian accidents were reported in 2007.
In this particular case, it’s not quite clear, based on the newspaper report, whose fault this fatal pedestrian accident was. Did the driver, Stotelmyre, have enough time to stop? How old is Stotelmyre? Was he distracted, driving reckless or driving under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances? These are all important questions that need to be answered to determine whether there was any negligence and also the level of negligence that may have existed here.
Hit-and-run or fleeing the scene of an accident is a serious offense in California. The law clearly states that any driver involved in a car accident in California must stop at the scene of the accident. Drivers are required to show identification and give contact and car insurance information to the parties involved. Taking off because you are in a panic or stressed out is not a valid excuse.
California Vehicle Code section 20001 (a) states: “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.”
The family of Dustin Rogers Martin would be well-advised to consult with experienced California personal injury attorneys, who will analyze all aspects of this fatal pedestrian accident and make sure the negligent parties are held accountable for their actions. If there was a dangerous condition on the roadway, which caused or contributed to the incident, the governmental agency responsible for maintaining that roadway could be held liable. Please remember that any claim against a governmental agency in California must be filed within six months of the accident or injury.