Vanessa Rosales, 38, of Adelanto, was killed in a Victorville car accident, which officials say involved a San Bernardino County Sheriff’s patrol vehicle, the night of September 9, 2012. According to a news report in The Press Enterprise, the fatal crash occurred on Air Expressway west of Village Drive. A deputy was driving a prisoner to the Apple Valley Juvenile Detention Center when the patrol car rear-ended a Honda Accord in the eastbound lanes. The Honda then swerved and struck a Mercedes.
Rosales, who was a passenger in the Honda, sustained fatal injuries. The Honda’s driver, Immysha Smith and another juvenile passenger in the Honda, were transported to area hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries. Jennifer Tompkins, the driver of the Mercedes, the deputy and the juvenile prisoner, suffered injuries that were described as “minor.” The sheriff’s Major Accident Investigation Team is looking into the cause of this crash.
My thoughts and prayers go out to the family members and friends of Vanessa Rosales who are mourning the loss of their loved one. I also wish the injured victims of this accident the very best for a speedy and complete recovery.
There were 15 fatalities and 309 injuries involving car accidents in Victorville, according to CHP’s 2010 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS). During the same year, 203 people died and 7,315 were injured due to San Bernardino County car accidents.
What Caused This Accident?
Based on this news report, it appears that the officer, who was driving the patrol car, rear-ended the Honda and triggered the chain-reaction collision. It is not clear however as to what caused this collision. Did something or someone in the patrol vehicle distract the officer? Was he or she communicating over the phone or radio at the time? Did speed play a part in this incident?
Fault and Liability
If the officer is determined to have been at fault here, then, both the deputy and his or her employer can be held liable for the incident. I trust the sheriff’s department will have a third party investigate this fatal collision considering the fact that one of their own may have been at fault in this case. The victims and their families would be well advised to get an experienced San Bernardino personal injury lawyer on their side, to stay on top of the official investigation, and ensure that their legal rights and best interests are protected.