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Fresno Area Car Accident Leaves Three Dead


Three people were killed and four sustained injuries in a Fresno car accident on Highway 140 the afternoon of August 14, 2010. According to a news report in The Fresno Bee, the deceased victims were identified as Chowchilla residents Deana Smith, 39, Michael Smith, 43, and Sharon Law, a 55-year-old woman from El Portal. Officials say the fatal crash occurred in Mariposa County near Colorado Road when a Ford Bronco driven by 18-year-old Marissa Fuqua, crossed a double yellow line and collided with a Harley Davidson motorcycle and a Ford Escape. The driver and passenger of the motorcycle were killed, as was the driver of the Ford Escape. Fuqua and three passengers in the Bronco were injured.

I offer my heartfelt sympathies to everyone who knew and loved these deceased victims. I also hope the victims who have been injured in this crash make a quick and complete recovery. Please keep these accident victims and their families in your thoughts and prayers.

Car Accident Statistics

According to the California Highway Patrol’s 2008 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), four people were killed and 102 people were injured in car accidents in all of Mariposa County. Three people died and 42 were injured as a result of car accidents on county roadways during the same year. Also, countywide, one fatality and 33 injuries were reported as a result of motorcycle accidents in 2008.

California Laws and Liability Issues

Under California law, it is illegal to cross double yellow lines on the highway. California Vehicle Code 21651 (a) states: “Whenever a highway has been divided into two or more roadways by means of intermittent barriers or by means of a dividing section of not less than two feet in width, either unpaved or delineated by curbs, double-parallel lines, or other markings on the roadway, it is unlawful to… drive any vehicle over, upon, or across the dividing section.”

If Fuqua is determined to have been at fault in this case, she could be held criminally and civilly liable for the accident, injuries and fatalities. I trust officials are looking into what caused her to drift into opposing lanes of traffic. Was she impaired, distracted, fatigued, speeding or otherwise negligent at the time?

The families of the victims killed in this tragic accident may file a wrongful death claim to receive compensation for funeral expenses, lost future income, loss of love and companionship, and other related damages. In such cases, it would be in the best interests of victims or their families to contact an experienced Fresno personal injury lawyer, who will stay abreast of the investigation and ensure that the negligent parties are held accountable for their actions.

What are some of the biggest challenges faced by injured victims and their families in the aftermath of a crash?

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.

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