An innocent motorist and his passenger were killed in a fiery three-car auto accident in Hollywood, which officials say was caused by two people street-racing in BMWs, while one of them, Carlos Steven John of Los Angeles, was driving under the influence of alcohol, according to an article in the Los Angeles Times . Police have arrested Carlos Steven John of Los Angeles and charged him with murder.
The fatal auto accident occurred early morning Saturday at Sunset Blvd. and Highland Ave. when the 21-year-old John, smashed into an Infiniti causing it to burst into flames. The driver of the Infiniti, who has not yet been identified, died on the scene. The passenger in that car who was first announced to be in critical condition with severe burn injuries, later succumbed to those injuries and was pronounced dead the following day. The BMW also struck another car, a Saturn Ion, but the driver of that car escaped with minor injuries, the report said.
The people responsible for this travesty must be held criminally and financially responsible for the death of two innocent men. Clear messages must be sent by our justice system that street racing participants will be held accountable for the losses they cause. What compensation is adequate for the loss of a family member?
Police are seeking the driver of the other racing BMW that sped away. That driver will also face criminal charges and as well as claims by the families of both of the deceased. The fleeing driver can be held just as responsible for this accident as the intoxicated driver.
It seems that we are representing more and more street racing accident victims in the last few years. In the last five years we have made more claims against the non-accident involved racing drivers than in the previous 24 years combined. It also seems that both freeway speeds and surface street speeds are up 5 to 10 mph over five years ago.
Street-racing fatalities, especially of innocent drivers and/or passengers who were not involved in the racing, are increasing at a disastrously high rate in Southern California. Among the most tragic cases were the death of a mother and her two children in El Monte and yet another in Reseda where a 4-year-old boy was killed and his mother and infant sister were critically injured .
Southern California cities are attempting to crack down on street racers by increasing enforcement with high-priced citations and vehicle impounds. City councils are starting to look at speed bumps and other road features to curb speed especially in residential neighborhoods where some of these tragedies have taken place.