Marvin Adams, 66, was killed in a car crash in Riverside County after his wheelchair was struck by a vehicle at a street intersection. According to a news article in The Press-Enterprise, the fatal collision occurred at the intersection of Limonite and Hamner avenues in Eastvale, the morning of August 19, 2012. Police say Adams’ battery-powered wheelchair was in a crosswalk and had reached the eastbound fast lane of Limonite Avenue when a Hyundai Azera crashed into it. The impact was so great that Adams’ scooter-style wheelchair was completely destroyed. The Azera’s front bumper, grill and hood were severely damaged as well. The investigation is ongoing. Anyone who saw this incident is asked to contact Riverside County Sheriff’s deputies at 951-955-2600.
My thoughts and prayers are with the family members and many friends of Marvin Adams who are mourning the loss of their loved one. I offer them my deepest condolences.
Riverside County Pedestrian Accidents
According to California Highway Patrol’s 2010 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), eight fatalities and 65 injuries occurred involving pedestrian accidents in the unincorporated areas of Riverside County. Also, pedestrian accidents claimed 32 lives and injured 349 people countywide, during the same year.
Laws Relating to Wheelchairs and Pedestrians
Based on this report, it appears that Adams was riding a mobility scooter in a marked crosswalk at an intersection when the vehicle struck him. Under California Vehicle Code Section 467 (b), the term “pedestrian” includes any person “who is operating a self-propelled wheelchair, motorized tricycle, or motorized quadricycle and, by reason of physical disability, is otherwise unable to move about as a pedestrian.”
California law requires motorists to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians 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.”
In this particular case, I trust officials are looking into whether the driver of the Hyundai was impaired, speeding, distracted or otherwise negligent. Why did the driver fail to yield the right-of-way to Adams? If the driver is determined to have been at fault here, he or she could be held liable for Adams’ wrongful death. A knowledgeable Riverside personal injury lawyer will 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 filed within six months of the incident.