Ramon Lopez, 56, of Chino Hills and Ricardo Zamora, 58, of Winchester, were fatally injured in a Torrance car accident that involved two suspected drunk drivers. According to a CBS news article, the freeway crash occurred early morning on July 22, 2012 on the 405 Freeway near Artesia Boulevard in Torrance. California Highway Patrol officials say Zamora, Lopez and another worker were doing asphalt work in the northbound freeway’s far right lane when a Lexus SUV struck them. The Lexus crashed into the men after it was rear-ended by a Ford Explorer SUV.
Lopez and Zamora died at the scene. A third worker was transported to a local hospital with injuries described as “minor to moderate.” The driver of the Explorer, 23-year-old Yocio Gomez, was arrested on DUI charges as was the driver of the Lexus, 43-year-old Stephen Caserta. Officials say the construction zone on the freeway was well-lit and was marked by cones.
I offer my deepest condolences to the family members and friends of Ramon Lopez and Ricardo Zamora for their tragic and heartbreaking loss. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers. I also wish the worker who was injured in this DUI collision the very best for a speedy and complete recovery.
Accidents Involving Freeway Workers
According to a recent Caltrans press release, four construction workers were killed just in the last year after being struck by vehicles. Three of these deaths occurred within a 48-day period in 2011. The tragedies sparked a statewide campaign in July 2011 to raise public awareness of the “Move Over” law, which was amended in 2009 to add Caltrans vehicles displaying flashing amber warning lights to the list of vehicles for which motorists must move over if safe to do so, or slow down.
Laws and Liability Issues
Based on this news account, the fatal injuries were caused by drivers who were operating under the influence. According to California Vehicle Code Section 23152 (a): “It is unlawful for any person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage or drug, or under the combined influence of any alcoholic beverage and drug, to drive a vehicle.”
In this case, the drivers, in addition to facing criminal charges, can be held civilly liable for the workers’ wrongful death and the injuries caused to the third worker. Families of deceased victims in such cases can seek compensation for damages such as lost future income, medical expenses and funeral costs. Injured victims can seek compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, cost of hospitalization, rehabilitation and other related damages. An experienced Los Angeles personal injury lawyer will be able to better advise car accident victims or their families about their legal rights and options.