Two people died and six were injured in a three-car rollover car accident in Utah early morning July 12, 2009. According to a news report in The Spectrum, most of the injured victims were from Los Angeles and the Southern California area. The fatal car accident occurred when 29-year-old Juan Garcia, who was driving south on the 15 Freeway, swerved to avoid a deer. Garcia’s 1993 Range Rover rolled over several times. His two children–Zapatista Angulo, 3, and Assata Angulo, 5 months, were ejected from the SUV.
The baby–Assata Angulo–died of head injuries. Olegario Angulo, 31, a passenger in the Range Rover, suffered fatal head injuries after the SUV’s roof and door caved in. He died at the scene. Chantel Manuel, 22, suffered injuries to the lower torso and Garcia sustained head and arm injuries. Zapatista Angulo was also taken to the hospital with injuries.
Mario Mendez, 67, was driving a 2006 Toyota 4Runner south when he saw the debris, but missed the Range Rover crashing into it. He was not injured. But a third driver, 47-year-old Jennifer Jordan of Rancho Santa Margarita crashed her Toyota Tacoma into the Range Rover and suffered ankle injuries. Her son, Jeremy, 20, suffered minor injuries.
My heart goes out to all the injured victims and their families. I offer my deepest sympathies to the family of little Assata and Olegario Angulo for their tragic and heartbreaking loss. I wish all the injured victims the very best for a quick and complete recovery. Please keep them in your prayers.
Based on this news account, the Range Rover tipped over when the driver, Juan Garcia, swerved to avoid a deer. The report does not say that Garcia was speeding or driving recklessly. If I were handling this rollover accident case, I would certainly look into whether a product defect or design defect in the Range Rover caused it to overturn. It’s also tragic that Olegario Angulo died from head injuries sustained as a result of roof crush. What this means is that the Range Rover’s roof caved in during the rollover accident crushing Angulo to death. His family would be well-advised to consult with an auto products liability attorney who has extensive experience handling rollover and roof crush auto product defect cases. I’d strongly recommend the Range Rover be preserved in its current condition so it can be examined by a defective auto product attorney.
Thousands die in rollover crashes in the United States each year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that at least 10,000 out of the 40,000 traffic accident fatalities each year are rollover accidents. While consumer advocates are fighting to get the federal government to approve new roof strength standards, auto makers continue to manufacture cars and SUVs with flimsy roofs that cave in and crush their occupants causing catastrophic injuries including traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injuries.
It’s also tragic that the two children who were ejected from the SUV were not placed in car seats. This is another sad reminder for us to make sure our children are safe while on the road. A child safety seat may have saved the life of little Assata Angulo.