Melissa Duane, 38, was struck and killed in a pedestrian accident when she was crossing the street. According to a City News Service report, deputies responded the night of April 20 near the intersection of Katella Avenue and Date Street. Duane was found on the street and she was pronounced dead at the scene.
An investigation revealed that she was struck by an SUV as she was crossing Katella Avenue. Officials said they did not make any arrests at the scene. But, the driver of the SUV was taken to an area hospital to be tested for DUI. The investigation is still ongoing.
We offer our deepest condolences to the family members and friends of Melissa Duane for their tragic and heartbreaking loss. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
Laws Involving Pedestrians
Based on this news report, it appears that the driver of the SUV struck and fatally injured the pedestrian. It is not clear based on preliminary investigations whether or not the pedestrian was walking in a marked or unmarked crosswalk. California Vehicle Code Section 21950 (a) states that motorists should stop and yield the right of way to pedestrians who are crossing the street in a marked or unmarked crosswalk. The law also says that drivers should use care and caution regardless of whether pedestrians are walking in a crosswalk.
There are also other questions that remain to be answered in this case. Was the driver of the SUV under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs? Was the driver distracted while driving? Was the driver of the SUV speeding or driving at an unsafe rate of speed? We trust officials are looking into how and why this fatal pedestrian collision occurred.
If the driver in such cases determined to have been fault or negligent, he or she can be held liable for the victim’s wrongful death. Family members of the deceased accident victim can file a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault driver seeking compensation for damages such as medical expenses, funeral costs, lost future income, pain and suffering and loss of love, care and companionship. An experienced Orange County pedestrian accident lawyer will be able to advise victims’ families in such cases regarding their legal rights and options.