Joaquin Monreal, 26, of Santa Maria, reportedly died in a California ATV accident at the Oceano Dunes recreation area. According to this news report, Monreal went missing after a late-night right on his all-terrain vehicle. Friends, who went out looking for him, found Monreal unconscious, lying in the sand next to his ATV. He was reportedly pronounced dead at the scene.
Officials, who are investigating the accident, say they don’t know how the ATV accident occurred and don’t have any eyewitnesses. They also say Monreal was wearing proper safety gear and the weather was not a factor in the crash. Park rangers say Monreal must’ve died waiting for help. Rangers recommend ATV riders to go out in groups of at least three so one person can stay with the injured person and administer aid while the other goes out to get help. This is reportedly the fourth fatal ATV accident in the area this year. There were three in 2007.
It’s too early to tell what caused the death. The investigation is complicated by the fact that there were no witnesses who saw it happen and Monreal was equipped with safety gear and doesn’t seem to have been intoxicated, although the coroner is still conducting an autopsy and toxicology tests to determine the cause of death.
I offer my deepest condolences to the Monreal family and hope they get the answers they are looking for.
This news report does not say what kind of ATV Monreal was riding. If I were a member of Monreal’s family or an attorney representing the family, I would want to know more about that ATV. I would look into whether it was a defective vehicle or had defective auto parts, whether it was among ATVs that have been recalled or should have been recalled because of a product defect.
Monreal’s family will be well-advised to retain the services of a personal injury attorney, who will look into what caused the accident and check the all terrain vehicle for defects and/or malfunctions. The family should certainly preserve the ATV as it is because it would be a key piece of evidence in a product defect case.