A 23-year-old Orange County man was killed in a motorcycle accident after driving off a freeway overpass and falling into oncoming traffic on the 91 Freeway, The Orange County Register reports. According to the article, Kristopher Schneckenberger of Anaheim is the second motorcyclist in three weeks to be involved in such a fatal motorcycle accident.
Schneckenberger reportedly went over a concrete barrier of a freeway connecter and fell on the westbound lanes of the 91 freeway where he was run over and killed. California Highway Patrol have not been able to establish what caused the motorcyclist to drive off the overpass or lose control of his vehicle. On March 23, Mark Ramey, 22, of Moreno Valley, was also killed when he lost control of his motorcycle and flew off the freeway connector as he tried to merge from the 91 to the northbound 57 freeway.
This is no doubt a horrible tragedy for the family of this young man. It is easy to assume that the motorcyclist was speeding or being irresponsible when you read a newspaper article like this one. A lot of readers who saw this article made that assumption, as is evident from their comments on the Register’s Web site.
But the thing is, we don’t know that. We don’t know what caused this horrible accident. It could have been speeding. But it could’ve also been caused by a mechanical malfunction or product defect in his motorcycle. It could’ve been caused by a dangerous condition on the freeway. Investigators need to look into whether it was a mere coincidence that these two motorcycle accidents happened within weeks of one another.
The family of this young motorcyclist would be well-advised to retain the services of an experienced and knowledgeable personal injury attorney, who will conduct an independent and detailed investigation of how this accident occurred. As in most accident cases, the vehicle itself is a vital piece of evidence. The family should certainly make an effort to preserve, in this case, the motorcycle.
If an investigation pinpoints the cause as an inherent vehicle defect, the manufacturer could be held financially responsible for the loss. On the other hand, if a freeway condition is found to have caused the crash, then Caltrans could be held liable.