Josephine Espiritu, 59, was killed in a Long Beach pedestrian accident after two vehicles crashed at a street intersection forcing one to strike her. According to a news report in the Press Telegram, police believe that the May 11th crash was the result of street racing. While the driver of the car that caused the crash has not yet been arrested, police plan to present a case to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office for filing consideration.
Fatal Crash and Injuries
The incident occurred on the evening of May 11th at the intersection of Santa Fe Avenue and Hill Street. The impact of the two-vehicle crash caused one of the vehicles to strike Espiritu as she was legally crossing Santa Fe Avenue on a green light in a marked crosswalk. When police arrived, Espiritu was conscious and not breathing, and was pronounced dead at the scene. Investigators believe the driver of Lexus sedan traveling south on Santa Fe Avenue was racing another vehicle when it ran a red light at Hill Street and hit a minivan.
The sedan then spun and struck Espiritu in the crosswalk. The driver of the other car involved in the alleged street race fled. The vehicle is now described as a black Nissan 350Z with a slatted window covering on the back window. The driver of the sedan has been hospitalized in critical condition. The minivan’s driver was hospitalized with major injuries. The investigation is ongoing.
We offer our deepest condolences to the family members of Josephine Espiritu for their tragic loss. We also wish the injured individuals the very best for a speedy and complete recovery.
Laws and Liability Issues
Racing on a public roadway is against the law. California Vehicle Code section 23109 (a) states: “A person shall not engage in a motor vehicle speed contest on a highway. As used in this section, a motor vehicle speed contest includes a motor vehicle race against another vehicle, a clock, or other timing device.”
The Greater Los Angeles area has seen an uptick in incidents involving speed racing and cases where accidents have been caused by people driving at an excessive and unsafe rate of speed. Officials believe this is because of roads that have been emptied out due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Under California law, motorists are required to exercise due care while driving and that includes driving at a speed that is safe for others on the roadway. In cases where negligence or wrongdoing is involved, families of deceased victims may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault individuals seeking compensation for damages such as medical expenses, funeral costs, lost future income, pain and suffering and loss of love, care and companionship. An experienced Long Beach car accident lawyer will be able to help injured victims and their families better understand their legal rights and options.