Guadalupe Colmenares, 19, was killed and her aunt, 37-year-old Rita Colmenares and 14-year-old cousin were injured in a Los Angeles car accident after they were struck by a car in a crosswalk in the Boyle Heights area. According to a CBS news report, the accident occurred the night of September 25, 2009. Investigators say 29-year-old Carol Eleana Vega was driving her 1993 Chrysler Concord when she ran a red light and hit the three women at the intersection of East Sixth Street and Lorena Street. Vega sped away after the crash, but surrendered to police the day after the fatal crash. Guadalupe Colmenares was pronounced dead in the hospital while Rita Colmenares remains in critical condition. The teenager suffered cuts, police said.
My heart goes out to the Colmenares family that has suffered a tragic and heartbreaking loss. I offer my deepest condolences to them. I also hope and pray that Rita Colmenares, who has suffered critical injuries in this hit-and-run car accident, recovers quickly and completely from her injuries. Please keep this family in your prayers.
Los Angeles Pedestrian Accident Statistics
According to California Highway Patrol’s 2007 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), 90 fatalities and 2,690 injuries were reported in the city of Los Angeles as a result of California pedestrian accidents. In Los Angeles County as a whole, there were 210 deaths and 5,095 injuries in 2007 involving pedestrian accidents.
I trust the driver, Carol Eleana Vega, will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and that traffic investigators are looking into how and why this accident occurred. Was Vega driving under the influence? Was she distracted (talking on the cell phone, texting)? Was she speeding? If this news report is accurate, Vega broke several vehicle codes. She ran a red light. She struck three pedestrians walking in a marked crosswalk. Then, she left the scene of the accident.
California Car Accident Laws
Running a red light is a serious traffic violation in California. There are various California Vehicle Code sections that are part of what we commonly refer to as “rules of the road.” These code sections address motorists’ behavior at intersections, especially those controlled by traffic signals. California Vehicle Code Section 21453 (a) states: “A driver facing a circular red signal shall stop at the limit line before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection or, if none, then before entering the intersection, and shall remain stopped until an indication to proceed is shown.”
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.”
Leaving the scene of an accident is against the law as well. According to California Vehicle Code section 20001: “The driver of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury to a person, other than himself or herself, or in the death of a person shall immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the accident.”
The family of Guadalupe Colmenares as well as the injured victims, Rita Colmenares and the injured girl, would be well-advised to retain the services of an experienced Los Angeles personal injury lawyer, who will stay on top of the official investigation and make sure they receive the justice and compensation they rightfully deserve. A skilled car accident lawyer will also be able to determine whether a dangerous condition at that street intersection may have caused or contributed to this fatal car accident. If that was the case, the city or governmental agency responsible for maintaining that roadway could be held liable. Any claim against a governmental agency must be properly filed within 180 days of the accident or injury.
The Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys is not representing any of the parties mentioned in this article at the time the article was posted. Our information source is cited in the article. If you were involved in this incident or a similar incident and have questions as to your rights and options, call us or another reputable law firm. Do not act solely upon the information provided herein. Get a consultation. The best law firms will provide a free consultation. We provide a free, confidential consultation to not at fault persons named in this article. The free consultation offer extends to family members as well.