Walter Williams, 37, was killed in a Los Angeles car accident after he was struck by a vehicle that was involved in a police pursuit. According to a news report in the Los Angeles Times, Williams was traveling northbound on Francisquito Avenue in Baldwin Park the morning of June 18, 2010, when he was hit by an SUV at the intersection of Ramona Boulevard. The stolen SUV was being pursued by two police cars. Williams was ejected from his vehicle due to the impact of the collision that also caused his car to burst into flames. He died at the scene.
I offer my deepest condolences to the family and friends of Walter Williams for their tragic and heartbreaking loss. Apparently, Williams worked at a nonprofit social service agency called the Eggleston Youth Center and helped counsel juveniles on probation and foster children. Tragic! Please keep his grieving family members, friends and co-workers in your thoughts and prayers.
According to California Highway Patrol’s 2008 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), there were four fatalities and 289 injuries involving car accidents in Baldwin Park. In Los Angeles County as a whole, 667 deaths and 52,229 injuries were reported as a result of car accidents during the same year.
The Risks Involved with Police Pursuits
Based on this news report, it appears that Williams was an “innocent bystander” in this tragic incident. There is no question that the driver of the SUV broke the law in evading the police. But if I were a member of the Williams family, I would certainly want to find out whether Baldwin Park police followed proper policies and procedures in terms of the pursuit. This news report states that officers were following the man who was in a stolen SUV. The question here is: Was the man posing an immediate danger to someone else? Why did police decide to give chase? What was the reasoning behind it? Did it warrant putting the life of an innocent citizen at risk? I hope a third party is investigating this case in addition to an internal review by the police department.
In such cases, families of deceased car accident victims would be well-advised to contact an experienced Los Angeles personal injury lawyer, who will analyze all facets of the accident and make sure that all the negligent parties are held accountable. Please remember that any personal injury or wrongful death claim against a governmental agency in California must be properly filed within 180 days of the accident or injury.
In your opinion, when should police officers get involved in pursuits? We would like to hear your opinion on this important issue.
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.