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Motorcyclist Killed in San Bernardino County Crash


William Jay Kiernan, 47, was killed in a motorcycle accident after a vehicle turned left in front of him at an intersection in Phelan. According to a news report in the Victorville Daily Press, the fatal collision occurred near the intersection of Sheep Creek Road and Daisy Lane. California Highway Patrol officials say 27-year-old Christopher Durbin was driving a 2002 Toyota Tundra pickup north on Sheep Creek at 30- to 35 mph when he attempted to make a turn directly in the path of the motorcyclist.

The pickup struck the left front portion of Kiernan’s Yamaha Star. Kiernan was thrown off the motorcycle and suffered major injuries. Durbin was uninjured. Kiernan was transported to an area hospital where he was pronounced dead. CHP officials are investigating the crash. No citations or arrests have been reported.

I offer my deepest condolences to the family members and friends of William Jay Kiernan for their tragic and heartbreaking loss. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.

Motorcycle Crash Statistics

According to CHP’s 2011 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), 13 people were killed and 155 were injured due to motorcycle crashes in the unincorporated areas of San Bernardino County. Also, countywide, 37 fatalities and 491 injuries were reported due to motorcycle accidents in 2011.

Left Turn Law

Based on this news report, it appears that the driver of the pickup truck failed to yield the right-of-way to the motorcycle and made an unsafe left turn. 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 such cases, the at-fault motorist can be held liable for the injuries and damages caused. In cases where negligence is involved, families of deceased crash victims can file a wrongful death claim seeking compensation for damages such as medical expenses, funeral costs, lost future income and loss of love and companionship. A knowledgeable San Bernardino personal injury lawyer will also be able to determine whether a dangerous roadway caused or contributed to the incident. If that was the case, the city or governmental agency responsible for maintaining the roadway can also be held liable. Under California Government Code Section 911.2, any personal injury or wrongful death claim against a governmental agency must be filed within six months of the incident.

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