A 14-year-old boy died after the car he was a passenger in ran a stop sign and hit a car full of small children, The Orange County Register reports. The teenager who died was identified as Phoenix Nguyen. Thankfully, Devin Miller, his wife and four children who were in the car that Nguyen hit, were unharmed.
The accident occurred when Ty Van Nguyen, 18, of Garden Grove was driving an Acura on Bushard Street when he ran the stop sign on Banning Avenue and hit the Millers’ Cadillac Escalade, police said in a news release. Miller tells the Register that a Huntington Beach police officer told him he suspected street racing, but police have not confirmed that yet. Phoenix’s sister Paulene and two other teenagers, whose names were not released, were also severely injured in the accident, according to the article.
Certainly, the driver of the car Phoenix was in, is responsible civilly for the teenager’s tragic death and any injuries sustained by members of the Miller family, if investigators determine that he did run the stop sign. If Ty Nguyen was indeed street racing, then I would expect the Orange County District Attorney to press vehicular manslaughter charges against the driver. If the accident did occur during a street race the drivers of the other racing vehicles could also be held civilly responsible to Phoenix’s family and the Miller family. These individuals could also face criminal charges.
There are also some reports that the stop sign was not clearly visible at that intersection. Both families would be well advised to hire a personal injury law firm that can delve into the case and conduct an independent investigation to determine who was responsible for the crash and if the city shares the blame for maintaining a dangerous intersection.
There are many lessons for young people here. When you drive, your entire attention needs to be on the road. Watch for traffic signs and don’t get distracted. Save cell phone chat and texting for later. It’s not worth your life or the life of your friend or passenger. And if you want to race, take it to the track.