Carol Sue Patterson, 67, was killed in a Yorba Linda pedestrian accident on December 6, 2008, The Orange County Register reports. Patterson was crossing Bastanchury Road near Prospect Avenue with 80-year-old Ronald Iver Severson when they were both hit by a 2006 Dodge Charger. The driver was identified as 68-year-old Josephine Zorzy of Yorba Linda.
Brea Police officials say the couple was crossing the street to get to a church and that they were not crossing at an intersection or using a crosswalk. Both were taken to an area hospital where Patterson later passed away due to her injuries. Severson is recovering from moderate injuries. Zorzy has not been arrested pending a police investigation. Police officials say she did not appear to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
I offer my deepest condolences to the family of Carol Sue Patterson for their tragic loss.
I’m relieved that Severson survived this horrific accident and wish him the best for a quick and complete recovery.
According to California Highway Patrol’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Reporting System (SWITRS), there were no pedestrian fatalities caused by pedestrian accidents in Yorba Linda in 2006. However, seven pedestrian accident related injuries were reported during that year. In Orange County as a whole, there were 45 deaths and 802 injuries caused by pedestrian accidents.
California Vehicle Code 21950 states that motorists should yield right-of-way to pedestrians at intersections and crosswalks. In the news article a Brea police official said the couple was walking across lanes of traffic. Something doesn’t sound right in this story. I simply cannot picture an elderly man and a 67-year-old woman trying to bolt across lanes of traffic. The other question in my mind is whether the driver, Josephine Zorzy, had sufficient time to stop before she struck the two pedestrians. If I were one of Patterson’s family members, I would want to know exactly how this accident happened. I trust that a full account will be available once Brea police traffic investigators complete their investigation.
I would certainly recommend that Patterson’s family and the injured victim, Severson, consult with a reputed Orange County pedestrian accident attorney, who will help determine who or what caused the accident and should be held responsible for it. If an investigation determines that Zorzy had time to stop before she hit the pedestrians, then she could be held liable for the accident and injuries. A skilled personal injury lawyer will also look into whether a dangerous condition on the roadway played a part in this fatal pedestrian accident. If that is the case, the city of Yorba Linda could be held liable.