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Passenger Killed In Modesto Area Car Accident


Derek Howell, a 30-year-old man from Turlock, was killed in a car accident when the vehicle in which he was passenger ran a stop sign and was struck by a truck. According to a news report in the Modesto Bee, the fatal crash occurred at the intersection of Third Avenue and Highway 165 in Stevinson on September 6, 2010. Authorities believe 33-year-old Charles Prusack, the driver of a 1997 Honda Accord, ran a stop sign at that intersection and was hit by a big-rig. Howell sustained fatal injuries. Prusack’s injuries were described as not life-threatening and 61-year-old Eulalio Bernard, the truck driver, was uninjured. Police suspect Prusack may have been drinking before the accident, but do not believe he was under the influence at the time.

My heartfelt condolences go out to the family and friends of Derek Howell. My thoughts and prayers are with them following this tragic car accident.

Merced County Car Accident Statistics

According to California Highway Patrol’s 2008 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), 51 people were killed and 1,166 people were injured in Merced County car accidents. Also, 42 people died and 573 sustained personal injuries as a result of car accidents in the unincorporated areas of Merced County during the same year.

California Car Accident Laws

Police have indicated that they do not believe the driver of the Accord was above the legal limit of blood alcohol content. It is illegal in California to drive with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or higher. According to the news report the driver did, however, run a stop sign.

California law requires drivers to come to a complete stop at a stop sign and proceed with caution. According to California Vehicle Code Section 21802 (a): “The driver of any vehicle approaching a stop sign at the entrance to, or within, an intersection shall stop as required by Section 22450. The driver shall then yield the right-of-way to any vehicles which have approached from another highway, or which are approaching so closely as to constitute an immediate hazard, and shall continue to yield the right-of-way to those vehicles until he or she can proceed with reasonable safety.”

Liability Issues

If the driver of the Honda is determined to have been at fault for this fatal car accident, he could be held liable for the wrongful death of his passenger, Derek Howell. Families of deceased car accident victims could file what is known as a wrongful death claim seeking compensation for medical and funeral expenses, lost future income, loss of love and companionship, and other related damages. An experienced Modesto personal injury lawyer will be able to better advise families in such cases about their legal rights and options.

What are some of the most dangerous intersections in your city or neighborhood?

The Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys is not representing any of the parties mentioned in this article at the time the article was posted. Our information source is cited in the article. If you were involved in this incident or a similar incident and have questions as to your rights and options, call us or another reputable law firm. Do not act solely upon the information provided herein. Get a consultation. The best law firms will provide a free consultation. We provide a free, confidential consultation to not at fault persons named in this article. The free consultation offer extends to family members as well.

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