A 15-year-old girl was injured in a Costa Mesa pedestrian accident, which officials say involved a suspected drunk driver who fled the scene.
According to a news report in The Daily Pilot, the injury collision occurred at the intersection of Fairview Road and Baker Street early morning on July 14, 2014.
Costa Mesa police say Ryota Takamatsu, 22,
struck the teenager as he was driving a Saturn Vue. The girl they said was running westbound in the south side of the crosswalk against a red light. The SUV was traveling south on Fairview in the outside lane.
After the collision, police say, Takamatsu fled the scene and at one point turned off his headlights. Witnesses cared for the young girl while another driver followed Takamatsu’s SUV. Witnesses communicated with police officers who caught up with Takamatsu’s at 1250 Adams Avenue and took him into custody. He was arrested on suspicion of felony hit-and-run and felony drunk driving. The girl was treated for a skull fracture and was said to be in serious but stable condition at a regional trauma center.
It is indeed fortunate that this young woman was not critically or fatally injured in this collision. We wish her the very best for a speedy and complete recovery.
According to California Highway Patrol’s 2011 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), there were no fatalities, but 73 injuries involving DUI collisions in Costa Mesa.
In Orange County as a whole, 51 people died and 1,265 were injured due to drunk driving crashes during the same year. Also, countywide, 38 fatalities and 773 injuries were reported due to pedestrian collisions in 2011.
Laws and Liability Issues
Based on this news report, it appears that the driver in this case may have had the right-of-way here. But officials say the driver was under the influence at the time and left the scene of the crash, leaving the girl seriously injured and lying on the roadway.
We are relieved that the driver in this case was apprehended. We commend the responsible citizens who not only attended to the injured victim, but also followed the hit-and-run driver and ensured that he was taken into custody.
In such cases negligent drivers, in addition to facing criminal charges, can also be held civilly liable for the injuries and damages they cause. Injured victims can seek compensation for damages including medical expenses, lost wages, hospitalization, rehabilitation, permanent injuries, pain and suffering and emotional distress.
Injured victims would also be well advised to contact an experienced Costa Mesa personal injury lawyer who will stay abreast of the official investigation and ensure that the legal rights and best interests are protected.