Three people were killed and several others were injured, including four critically, in a suspected street-racing crash on the 5 Freeway in Commerce. According to an NBC Los Angeles news report, the crash was reported around midnight on February 27, 2016 on the northbound 5 Freeway near the Washington Boulevard exit. California Highway Patrol officials said a Dodge Charger and a Dodge Challenger were racing on the southbound 5 Freeway traveling up to 90 mph.
The driver of the Challenger lost control and struck a UPS semi-truck when he attempted to go around a slower-moving vehicle. The semi then collided into the center median and became airborne striking a gray Nissan sedan traveling northbound. The semi sheared the roof of the Nissan before landing on a red Ford Explorer.
Three people were pronounced dead at the scene including the driver of the UPS big rig, and a man and woman in the Nissan, both in their 20s. At least four others suffered critical injuries and two people were treated for relatively minor injuries. One of the street racers, identified as 35-year-old Dealio Lockhart was arrested. A second driver is still at large.
Our deepest condolences go out to the family members and friends of the deceased victims for their tragic loss. We also wish the injured victims the very best for a speedy and complete recovery.
Laws and Liability Issues
Racing on a public roadway is illegal under California law. California Vehicle Code section 23109 (a) states: “A person shall not engage in a motor vehicle speed contest on a highway. As used in this section, a motor vehicle speed contest includes a motor vehicle race against another vehicle, a clock, or other timing device.” Of course, these drivers acted recklessly by driving at an excessive rate of speed and making unsafe movements on the freeway, putting themselves and other motorists in grave danger.
In such cases where negligence or wrongdoing may be a factor, at-fault drivers can be held both criminally and civilly liable for their actions. Injured victims can seek compensation for damages including medical expenses, lost income, hospitalization, rehabilitation, pain and suffering and emotional distress.
Families of deceased victims can file a wrongful death lawsuit seeking compensation for damages as well. Injured victims and their families in such cases would be well advised to contact an experienced Los Angeles personal injury attorney who will stay abreast of the official investigation and ensure that their legal rights and best interests are protected.