Ashlyn Gardner, a 9-year-old girl died, and her 7-year-old brother, Landon, was injured in a San Bernardino pedestrian accident after a pickup truck hit them as they were walking home from school. According to a CBS Los Angeles news report, the fatal accident occurred when Ashlyn and Landon were in a crosswalk the afternoon of December 4, 2013, at the intersection of Banyan Street and East Avenue, a block away from Etiwanda Colony Elementary School. The driver remained at the scene and told police he did not see the children as he made a left turn.
The article states parents in the area have been concerned about that dangerous intersection since the district eliminated transporting the children due to budget cuts. This, they say, has caused a “traffic nightmare” in the area and created unsafe conditions for students. Police do not believe excessive speed or impairment were factors in this collision.
I offer my deepest condolences to the family members and friends of Ashlyn Gardner for their heartbreaking loss. I wish her younger brother the very best for a speedy and complete physical and emotional recovery.
Based on this news report, it appears that the children were walking in a crosswalk at the time. 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
It is not clear what caused the driver to strike the children as he made a left turn. I trust officials are looking into whether he was distracted or inattentive. If the driver is determined to have been at fault, he could be held liable for the injuries and losses caused. It is also important to look into whether a dangerous intersection caused or contributed to the incident. If that was the case, the governmental agency responsible for maintaining the roadway can be held liable.
Any claim against a governmental entity must be filed within six months of the incident, under California Government Code Section 911.2. An experienced San Bernardino personal injury lawyer will be able to advise injured victims and families of deceased victims about their legal rights and options.