Two-year-old Sofia Sales died after her father’s sport utility vehicle was involved in a multi-vehicle auto accident on the northbound 55 Freeway in Orange on December 11, 2008. According to this news report in The Orange County Register, Sofia’s father, John Sales, and her 4-month-old brother, Connor Sales, suffered minor injuries in the crash.
The chain reaction crash began when a Toyota Corolla with a flat right-front tire, driven by 27-year-old Shaheen Patel of Irvine, was traveling at a very slow speed on the No. 2 lane of the freeway near Walnut Avenue. Orange resident John Sales was right behind Patel in his Mercury Mountaineer and began to stop his vehicle when he saw Patel’s vehicle was disabled. However a 2006 Chevy Silverado driven by 38-year-old Armstrong Kitchen was unable to stop and rear-ended Sales’ SUV. That in turn caused Sales’ Mountaineer to move forward and collide with the Toyota. Patel was uninjured and Kitchen was taken to the hospital with moderate injuries. Sofia died a few hours after the accident.
My heart goes out to this Orange County family that is grieving the loss of this little girl, Sofia Sales. I offer my deepest condolences to them. I also wish John Sales and his infant son, Connor, the very best for a speedy recovery. Although they suffered only minor injuries, I can only imagine the emotional aftermath of such a tragedy.
California Highway Patrol is still investigating this Orange County auto accident. They have not arrested 38-year-old Armstrong Kitchen pending an investigation. However, officials have said that Kitchen was traveling “at an unsafe speed” on the freeway. They say that is why he was unable to stop in time to prevent the fatal collision.
California Vehicle Code Section 22350 (Basic Speed Law) states: “No person shall drive a vehicle upon a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable or prudent having due regard for weather, visibility, the traffic and on surface and width of, the highway, and in no event at a speed which endangers the safety of persons or property.”
If a complete investigation determines that Kitchen was speeding on the freeway and that his negligence caused the accident and injuries, then he should be held responsible for what happened. This is an extremely difficult time for the Sales family that has lost a child. I would urge them to consult with a reputed Orange County auto accident attorney who will advise them about how to protect their legal rights. A skilled personal injury lawyer will also ensure that the negligent parties in this case are identified and brought to justice.