Steven David Muller, 29, was killed in a Lake Forest car accident after his motorcycle was struck by a vehicle that was turning left at a street intersection. According to a news report in The Orange County Register, the fatal motorcycle accident occurred at the intersection of Peachwood and Palmwood Drive shortly after noon on August 15, 2012. Police say Muller was riding eastbound on Peachwood when the driver of a 2010 Acura made a left turn in front of him. Muller struck the driver’s door of the Acura and was ejected from the bike. He was transported to an area trauma center where he died from his injuries. No arrests or citations have been reported. An investigation is ongoing.
My thoughts and prayers are with the family members and friends of Steven David Muller who are mourning this tragic loss. I offer my heartfelt condolences to them.
Motorcycle Crash Statistics
According to California Highway Patrol’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), one person died and 19 were injured as a result of Lake Forest motorcycle accidents in 2009. During the same year, 17 people died and 735 were injured due to Orange County motorcycle crashes.
Based on this news report, it appears that the driver of the Acura made a left turn in front of the oncoming motorcycle. It is not clear why the driver of the Acura failed to yield the right of way to Muller. California Vehicle Code Section 21801 (a) states: “The driver of a vehicle intending to turn to the left or to complete a U-turn upon a highway, or to turn left into public or private property, or an alley, shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles approaching from the opposite direction which are close enough to constitute a hazard at any time during the turning movement, and shall continue to yield the right-of-way to the approaching vehicles until the left turn or U-turn can be made with reasonable safety.”
Fault and Liability
In this particular case, if the driver is determined to have been at fault, then, he or she can be held liable for Muller’s wrongful death. A knowledgeable personal injury attorney in Orange County will also be able to determine whether a dangerous condition at the intersection may have caused or contributed to the incident. If that was the case, the city or governmental agency responsible for maintaining that roadway can also be held liable. Under California Government Code Section 911.2, any personal injury or wrongful death claim against a governmental entity must be filed within six months of the incident.