Karen Lee Henthorn, 60, was killed in a San Bernardino car accident after she was struck by a vehicle while crossing the street in a marked crosswalk. According to news reports in The Press-Enterprise and The San Bernardino County Sun, the fatal pedestrian accident occurred at the intersection of East Lynwood Drive and North Mountain Avenue, the evening of December 26, 2011. Officials say a 1994 Honda sedan hit Henthorn as she was walking in the crosswalk. She was transported to a local hospital where she died from her injuries shortly after the incident. Officials say drugs or alcohol were not factors. An investigation is ongoing.
I offer my heartfelt condolences to the family members and friends of Karen Lee Henthorn for their tragic and devastating loss. Please keep this grieving family in your thoughts and prayers.
San Bernardino Pedestrian Accident Statistics
According to California Highway Patrol’s 2009 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), there were three fatalities and 94 injuries involving pedestrian accidents in the city of San Bernardino. Also, countywide, 39 people died and 440 were injured due to pedestrian accidents, during the same year.
Laws Relating to Pedestrians
Based on this news report, the driver of the Honda sedan failed to yield the right-of-way to Henthorn, who was walking in a marked crosswalk. Under California law, motorists are required to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians walking in marked or unmarked crosswalks.
California Vehicle Code Section 21950 states: “The driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within any marked crosswalk or within any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection.” The same section also states that the driver of a vehicle approaching a pedestrian within any marked or unmarked crosswalk “shall exercise all due care and shall reduce the speed of a vehicle or take any other action relating to the operating of the vehicle as necessary to safeguard the safety of the pedestrian.”
I trust officials are also looking into whether the driver of the Honda was inattentive, distracted or otherwise negligent at the time. If the driver is determined to have been at fault, he or she can be held liable for the victim’s wrongful death. A skilled San Bernardino personal injury lawyer will also be able to determine whether a dangerous condition on the roadway caused or contributed to the incident. If that was the case, the city or governmental agency responsible for maintaining the roadway can be held liable. Under California Government Code Section 911.2, any personal injury or wrongful death claim against a governmental agency must be properly filed within six months of the incident.