A 62-year-old man in a wheelchair sustained serious injuries in an Orange County car accident the night of October 31, 2009 and police are still looking for public’s help in finding the driver who struck the man and then fled the scene. According to a news report in The Orange County Register, the man was in his wheelchair near Wellington Avenue and North Lacy Street in Santa Ana when a large white van traveling west, struck him. The van driver kept going, but police believe the vehicle suffered front-end damage. The man in the wheelchair sustained major injuries and was transported to an area hospital. Anyone who witnessed this car accident or has information about the hit-and-run driver is asked to call Santa Ana police at 714-245-8701.
My heart goes out to this injured victim who is apparently fighting for his life. I pray he makes it through these injuries and has a speedy and complete recovery. Please keep this injured victim and his family in your prayers. I sincerely hope that this hit-and-run driver who struck a wheelchair-bound man, seriously injured him and left him on the street, is apprehended and brought to justice. This is an appallingly inhumane act!
Pedestrian Accidents in Orange County
There were nine fatalities and 127 injuries in 2007 involving pedestrian accidents in Santa Ana, California, according to the California Highway Patrol’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS). Countywide, 41 deaths and 726 injuries were reported in 2007 as a result of pedestrian accidents.
California Vehicle Code 467(a) defines motorized wheelchair users as pedestrians, with all of the same rights and restrictions as someone walking along a roadway. That means vehicles are required to yield to them, and that the wheelchair users are to stick to sidewalks or shoulders and crosswalks.
Hit-and-Run Laws in California
It is also a serious crime under California law to leave the scene of an accident. Under California law, leaving the scene of an accident is a serious crime. According to California Vehicle Code section 20001: “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.”
Seriously injured victims of hit-and-run accidents and their families not only undergo tremendous emotional trauma, but they also face an enormous financial strain with growing medical bills and loss of wages due to the injuries or disabilities. In such situations, it would be in the best interest of accident victims and their families to consult with an experienced Orange County hit and run lawyer, who will advise them on the best course of action and better explain to them their legal rights and options. A knowledgeable car accident lawyer will also be able to tell them how their car insurance will apply to a hit-and-run accident or in a case where the at-fault party lacks insurance or sufficient insurance coverage.