A 43-year-old man who was struck and killed in a Santa Ana pedestrian accident has been identified as Grzegor Szewczak of Costa Mesa. According to this news report in the Orange County Register, Szewczak was crossing Harbor Boulevard near 17th Street on January 13, 2009 when he was struck by a vehicle traveling south, Santa Ana police officials said.
I offer my deepest condolences to the family of Grzegor Szewczak. They will certainly be in my prayers.
According to the California Highway Patrol’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Reporting System, in 2006, in the city of Santa Ana, there were seven Santa Ana pedestrian accident related fatalities and 127 injuries attributed to pedestrian accidents. In Orange County as a whole, there were 45 deaths and 802 injuries attributed to pedestrian accidents during the same year.
There is very little information about whether Grzegor Szewczak was walking in a crosswalk. If he was in a marked or unmarked crosswalk, California Vehicle Code requires that the motorist yield right-of-way. 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.”
If Szewczak was not in a crosswalk and walking in traffic lanes, then it would be important to look at whether the motorist had adequate time to stop. Was he mindful of his surroundings or was he distracted in some way? The victim’s family would be well-advised to retain the services of a reputed Orange County pedestrian accident attorney, who will interview eyewitnesses and help determine the facts of the case.
It is also important to identify the negligent parties in this case and hold them accountable. A skilled Orange County personal injury lawyer will look into whether a dangerous roadway may have contributed to this pedestrian versus car collision. If that is the case then the city of Santa Ana could be held liable. Please remember that any claim against a governmental agency must be properly filed within six months of the accident.