Berna Martinez, 74, was killed in an Orange County car accident after she was struck by a vehicle while crossing a roadway. According to a news report in The Orange County Register, the fatal pedestrian accident occurred the morning of March 21, 2011 as Martinez was crossing at the intersection of Red Hill Avenue and El Camino Real in Tustin.
She was hit by a Mercury Sable driven by an elderly woman and dragged for about a mile under the vehicle through El Camino Real and Newport Avenue. Martinez’s body came loose from the vehicle at Newport Avenue, near Sixth Street. She was found next to the center divider. The driver, a 79-year-old woman, was stopped by witnesses at Newport and Irvine boulevards. Officers say Martinez was struck at a lighted, controlled crosswalk. An investigation is ongoing.
I offer my deepest condolences to the family members and friends of Berna Martinez for their tragic and heartbreaking loss. Please keep this grieving family in your thoughts and prayers.
Pedestrian Accident Statistics
According to the California Highway Patrol’s 2008 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), one fatality and 19 injuries were reported due to pedestrian accidents in Tustin. In Orange County as a whole, 31 people died and 785 were injured in pedestrian accidents during the same year.
Laws Relating to Pedestrians
Based on this news report, it appears that Martinez was hit when she was in a marked crosswalk. Under California law, motorists must yield right-of-way to pedestrians walking in marked or unmarked crosswalks.
California Vehicle Code Section 21950 states: “The driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within any marked crosswalk or within any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection.” The same section also states that the driver of a vehicle approaching a pedestrian within any marked or unmarked crosswalk “shall exercise all due care and shall reduce the speed of a vehicle or take any other action relating to the operating of the vehicle as necessary to safeguard the safety of the pedestrian.”
Victims’ Claim for Compensation
I trust officials are piecing together all the details of this horrific accident, including whether the elderly driver was aware that she was dragging the pedestrian under her vehicle. If the driver is determined to have been at fault here, then she could be held liable for Martinez’s wrongful death. The victim’s family would be well-advised to contact an experienced Orange County personal injury lawyer, who will stay abreast of the official investigation and ensure that their legal rights and best interests are protected.
Lost a family member in an Orange County car accident? Want to know your rights? Want to know what your case is worth? Want compensation? Want justice? Want to ensure the same thing doesn’t happen to another family?
Call your best friends in the legal industry after a fatal Tustin pedestrian accident. Call 800-259-6373. The call is free. The advice may be priceless.
Call a Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys Orange County wrongful death lawyer for a free professional evaluation of your rights by attorneys who have been representing families of deceased accident victims since 1978. You will experience award winning representation and outstanding personal service by a compassionate and understanding law firm in a comfortable environment.