Michael Ray Stilwell of Whittier was killed in a pedestrian accident in Santa Fe Springs the morning of May 9, 2015.
According to a news report in the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Stilwell was walking north across Washington Boulevard in a marked crosswalk when he was struck by a Mitsubishi Montero that was making a left turn from southbound Broadway.
Stilwell was pronounced dead at the scene.
The driver of the SUV remained at the scene. About three hours later police
arrested the driver, Rogelio Garcia, 50, on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence. Intoxicated driving is not suspected. The investigation is ongoing.
Our heartfelt condolences go out to the family members and friends of Michael Stilwell for their tragic and heartbreaking loss. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
Pedestrian Accident Statistics
According to California Highway Patrol’s 2012 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), there were no fatalities, but nine injuries involving pedestrian accidents in Santa Fe Springs.
In Los Angeles County as a whole, 203 fatalities and 4,821 injuries were reported due to pedestrian accidents during the same year.
Based on this news report, it appears that the driver of the Mitsubishi may have failed to yield the right-of-way to the pedestrian in the crosswalk.
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.”
Fault and Liability
If the driver in this case is determined to have been at fault, in addition to criminal charges or penalties, he can also be held civilly liable for the injuries, damages and losses caused.
In cases where negligence is involved, families of deceased victims can file what is known as a wrongful death lawsuit seeking compensation for damages such as medical and funeral costs, lost future income, pain and suffering and loss of love and companionship.
An experienced Los Angeles personal injury attorney can also help determine whether a dangerous roadway or intersection may have caused or contributed to the incident.
If that was the case, the city or governmental agency responsible for maintaining the roadway can also be held liable.