Police in Westminster are still trying to identify an elderly woman who they say died in a pedestrian versus auto accident on February 10, 2009. According to this news report in The Orange County Register, the fatal Orange County pedestrian accident occurred when the driver of a pickup truck Oscar Guzman, 20, attempted to make a right turn at the intersection of Jackson Street and Westminster Boulevard. Police say Guzman, who was stopped at a red light on the southbound side of Jackson, was looking to his left at oncoming traffic, but did not see the woman stepping out in front crossing the street.
Guzman’s pickup ran over the woman who was taken to a hospital where she died. Guzman is apparently a licensed driver and police say he didn’t seem to be driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the accident. He was given a toxicology test. Police say they don’t believe he was distracted by the cell phone at the time of the accident either. If you saw this accident or have any further information, please call Westminster Police Officer Al Brackett at 714-898-3315, ext. 333.
I offer my deepest sympathies to the family of this elderly woman for their tragic loss. Please keep them in your prayers.
Based on this newspaper report, it seems to me that Guzman was more focused on looking for oncoming vehicles while making his right turn. He apparently wasn’t looking for pedestrians who may have been crossing at an intersection. It happens all the time. Motorists look for other vehicles at intersections, but hardly pay attention to motorcyclists, bicyclists or pedestrians. The consequences of that, as we have seen in this case, can be devastating.
If Guzman is found to have been careless or inattentive, then he could be held liable for the accident and the injuries. I would urge the family of the deceased victim in this case to consult with an experienced Orange County pedestrian accident attorney. A skilled personal injury lawyer will also be able to determine whether there was a dangerous condition at that Westminster intersection that contributed to the collision. If that is the case, then the city or the governmental agency responsible for maintaining that roadway could be held responsible. Please remember that any claim against a California governmental agency must be properly filed within six months of the accident.