A California Highway Patrol officer fatally struck a pedestrian identified as Vicente Gutierrez Marquez, 74, of Burlingame, who was crossing a coastal highway in San Mateo County. According to a news report in the San Jose Mercury News, the incident occurred the night of September 30, 2017. Marquez was reportedly leaving a wedding party at a restaurant on State Highway 1 when he was struck by the vehicle. CHP did not identify the officer driving the patrol car. He was not injured. The investigation is ongoing.
Our deepest condolences go out to the family members of Vicente Gutierrez Marquez for their tragic loss. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
According to CHP’s 2014 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), there were eight fatalities and 194 injuries reported as a result of pedestrian accidents in San Mateo County. In the city of Burlingame, there were no fatalities, but 18 injuries reported as a result of pedestrian accidents during the same year.
What Caused This Crash?
Based on this news report, it is unclear as to how or why this collision occurred. There are a number of questions here. Was the pedestrian in a marked or unmarked crosswalk at the time of the crash? Was the officer distracted or inattentive at the time of the collision? Was speed a factor in this fatal crash? Did a dangerous condition on the state highway cause or contribute to this accident? We hope officials are conducting an independent investigation in this case since it involves one of their own.
Laws and Liability Issues
California Vehicle Code Section 21954 states: “Every pedestrian upon a roadway at any point other than within a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway so near as to constitute an immediate hazard.” The same section also states: “The provisions of this section shall not relieve the driver of a vehicle from the duty to exercise due care for the safety of any pedestrian upon a roadway.”
If this particular case, the victim’s family may have a claim against the officer and his employer seeking compensation for their losses. Under California Government Code Section 911.2, any personal injury or wrongful death claim against a governmental agency must be filed within 120 days of the incident. An experienced California pedestrian accident lawyer can help victims’ families navigate what can be a challenging process and help them secure the compensation they rightfully deserve while holding the at-fault parties accountable.