Car accidents in San Diego are, unfortunately, a daily occurrence. While many drivers are fortunate to walk away from an accident unscathed, others are faced with the real possibility of injury and even wrongful death. In cases like these, it can take days, weeks and even years for the details to resolve.
A year following the fatal accident of Angela August, 25, and Jimmy Arevalo, 59, the case has finally come to a close this month. Sunny Hall of El Cajon, Calif. pleaded guilty for her role in a fatal highway car accident in San Diego.
According to reports, the fatalities occurred when Hall, who was suspected of driving under the influence, hit Arevalo after he pulled over onto the shoulder to assist August who had rolled over her car on Interstate 8 west of Tavern Road. Hall struck the two individuals after losing control over her vehicle, careening into the shoulder.
According to the California Highway Patrol, Hall’s vehicle collided into Arevalo and pinned August inside the car, causing both to tragically die as a result of the accident.
Hall pleaded guilty to charges of driving under the influence and gross vehicular manslaughter.
USING THE SHOULDER: HOW TO DO SO SAFELY
Reports indicate that Arevalo stopped to help August after seeing her vehicle rolled over on I-8. After pulling onto the shoulder, he was struck by Hall’s oncoming vehicle.
When it comes to pulling over in an emergency, here are steps you can take to ensure your safety. While no accident in San Diego is completely preventable, there are ways to help reduce your risk of injury or death.
EXIT THE FREEWAY IF POSSIBLE. Instead of using the shoulder, try to exit the freeway and pull over into a parking lot in the event of an emergency. Shoulders can be extremely dangerous and many accidents occur as a result of having to pull over. A parking lot is a much safer option when possible.
CARRY ROADWAY CONES. If you must use the shoulder to pull over, use light-reflective cones to call attention to your vehicle. DO NOT place the cones in the freeway or anywhere beyond the lines that delineate the shoulder area. Use the cones within the shoulder to increase visibility.
CALL 9-11 IN EMERGENCY SITUATIONS. If you’ve been injured or suspect another person has been injured, pull over safely and call 9-11.
HELPING OTHERS. Pulling over into the shoulder area to assist other drivers can prove to be dangerous considering the limited space available within the emergency lane and the likelihood of being accidentally hit. If you see a vehicle pulled over, exit the freeway, park in a safe area, and then call for help. Use your discretion whether to call the non-emergency police line or 9-11.
FREEWAY- AND SHOULDER-RELATED INJURIES IN SAN DIEGO
If you have been injured in a freeway- or shoulder-related accident and suspect it was the fault of another driver, you may be entitled to financial compensation to pay for medical bills, lost wages, future treatment and pain and suffering. For more information and to schedule your FREE legal consultation, call 1-800-655-6585 or submit the details of your case online.
In my November column at the La Jolla Light, I covered a recent SUV rollover accident in La Jolla involving 16 teens and several injuries. According to reports, the teens were packed into the vehicle with suspicion of driving while intoxicated. To increase safety awareness, I urged parents to download and implement our FREE parent-teen contract.
Recently, NBC 7 San Diego followed up on the accident while also raising questions on restrictions surrounding California’s provisional driver’s license – and the lack of parental knowledge.
“The reason there are provisional licenses is because teenagers take more risks than adults,” said Lt. Julian Faulkner with the San Diego Sheriff’s’s Department’s Traffic Division according to the news source.
Teens must abide by the following rules during the first year of their initial licensure:
- No driving between the hours of 11PM and 5AM
- Passengers are not allowed unless the teen is accompanied by a licensed driver over the age of 25
Teens that violate restrictions may lose their driver’s license.
According to the DMV, provisional licenses should reduce the incidence of accidents among teen drivers. The restrictions follow on the heels of recent statistics that show a dramatic increase in accidents among young drivers during late night and early morning hours.
Ultimately, it boils down to parental enforcement when it comes to enforcing restrictions and thereby reducing the risk of accidents. As I covered in my recent column, a parent-teen contract can:
CREATE BOUNDARIES. It’s no secret that teens thrive on a boundary-rich environment (even though they may protest). Use your parent-teen contract to establish and enforce rules for your new teen driver.
ESTABLISH CONSEQUENCES. Teens have a tendency to explain poor decision-making instead of taking responsibility. But when clear guidelines and consequences are established in writing, teens won’t have an excuse – and that can lead to better decision-making when it comes to getting behind the wheel.
KEEP OUR ROADS SAFER. When teens drive safely, our roadways are also safer. The truth is that we share the road with all types of drivers. From beginners to novices, expertise behind the wheel can vary. But it goes without saying that teen drivers are far less experienced than older drivers and therefore need all the guidance they can get to make good decisions behind the wheel.
While a parent-teen contract may seem seemingly small, it can make a difference – even if it’s one saved life. And that’s all the difference in the world.
To download our FREE parent-teen contract right now, click here.
Parents are also encouraged to find out more about the Smart Start program.
The city of Oceanside is mourning a young woman who died in a suspected drunken driving accident in Oceanside. She is survived by the driver of the vehicle, an Oceanside man thought to be in his early 20s.
According to reports at CBS8, the vehicle split in half after hitting a tree around 6:30 p.m. last Wednesday near Avenida del Oro. Upon impact, one half of the vehicle careened across the center divide while the other part of the vehicle slid into oncoming lanes of traffic. Moments later, the car collided head-on into a Nissan Sentra, ejecting the driver from the vehicle.
The female passenger was killed instantly at the scene of the accident. She was thought to be in her early 20s. According to officials, her body was trapped in the wrecked vehicle for hours before police crew were able to reach her body with the Jaws of Life.
Reports indicate the driver was ejected from the vehicle and into the westbound lanes of Oceanside Boulevard. He survived the accident and was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
Police say the man could face charges of manslaughter including driving under the influence once toxicology reports are completed. According to CBS8, the cause of the accident still remains under investigation.
DUI ACCIDENTS: BE A RESPONSIBLE HOST THIS HOLIDAY SEASON
Unfortunately, DUIs become more frequent during the holiday season. This accident is a sobering reminder that even a few drinks can make all the difference between a focused driver and one who should call a taxi. It goes without saying that people of all ages should be aware of their drinking this holiday season, but young people are especially urged to take note. Don’t underestimate the power of alcohol – it can do much more than meets the eye.
CONFISCATE KEYS. A good host will take away keys when needed and call a taxi for their guests if needed. Pretending that keys are lost usually does the trick without offending anyone. Or, simply offer prepaid taxi rides at the beginning of the party or as guests progressively indulge throughout the evening.
PROVIDE PROTEIN-RICH SNACKS. Always remember to include plenty of snacks for your guests to enjoy. Ideas include protein-rich items like nuts, meats and cheeses. These foods keep people full and, in many cases, curb overindulgence.
SERVE WATER. It’s super classy and helps guests to stay within limits. Try high-end water like Evian or Fiji, or go for the bubbly with Pellegrino or Perrier. It looks good, taste good – and can even help designated drivers stay completely designated without missing out on a fun drink.
PLAN ACTIVITIES. Parties are meant to be fun, right? Entertainment ensures your guests have a good time – but activities are also great when it comes to balancing drinking with other events of the evening. Drinking doesn’t have to be the main show.
LAST CALL. It’s a good idea to stop serving alcohol at least 1 hour before you plan to phase out your party. Hosts can call for taxis during this time or ensure designated drivers are ready to go. Remember, it usually takes much more time than one hour for someone to get sober. Please remember that a taxi is always the safest choice if you have to question someone’s sobriety.
Bus accidents, while not as common as car accidents in San Diego, have made headlines in recent weeks. A few weeks ago, I covered the Irwindale bus accident in my column at the La Jolla Light. Within just one month, another bus accident in Chula Vista occurred, this time injuring 21 people aboard the bus and another driver who was entangled with the collision.
According to reports, an SUV crashed into a Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) bus in Chula Vista, the popular suburban area just south of San Diego. Chula Vista police, firefighters and ambulances were immediately called onto the scene to treat unreported injuries.
The accident occurred at the intersection of East H Street and Paseo Del Rey around 7:20 a.m., News 7 San Diego reported. It appears the SUV rear-ended the bus during its routine stop while picking up passengers. Individuals who were injured were transported to Scripps and Sharp hospitals both located in Chula Vista.
Of those who sustained injury, most were fortunately treated for mid- to minor personal injury such as pain, bumps and bruises, the San Diego Union Tribune reported.
The accident, although under investigation, has no indication that it was caused by drugs or alcohol.
REAR-END CAR ACCIDENTS IN SAN DIEGO
Did you know that rear end car accidents are the most common type of collision? The reasons are most likely due to stop-and-go traffic, distraction, sudden stops and/or traffic lights. Regardless of the reason why rear end car accidents occur in San Diego, individuals sustain similar types of injuries such as:
WHIPLASH. The force of a rear-end car accident can cause either driver to whip their head forward due to the impact, causing damage to the fragile neck system. Muscles, tendons and vertebrae can each sustain injury. Whiplash is a common type of injury after a rear-end car accident has occurred.
SPINAL CORD INJURY. In severe accidents, drivers can sustain spinal cord injury which can result in prohibited movement and even paralyzation such as paraplegia or quadriplegia. Through continued physical therapy, an individual can gain some of their life back, but there’s no doubt that spinal cord injuries have the ability to change every facet of your life, both physically and emotionally.
TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY. In the worse cases, traumatic brain injury can occur after a rear-end car accident in San Diego. Brain injuries, or TBIs, can affect nearly every part of your cognitive and physical abilities. TBIs are devastating to individuals and families and usually remain with the individual for the rest of their lives.
COMPENSATION FOR INJURIES: REAR-END CAR ACCIDENTS
If you have been injured in a rear-end car accident in San Diego or any of the outlying cities including Chula Vista, Oceanside, Escondido or Temecula, you may be entitled to financial compensation.
The first step in determining your ability to recoup is calling a car accident attorney in San Diego right away at 1-800-655-6585 to discuss the details of your case. The call and legal consultation is absolutely FREE. Next, a lawyer will determine whether your case is eligible for a personal injury claim. If it is, we will work hard on your behalf to get you the maximum financial compensation allowed by law – with NO out-of-pocket costs required by you. Call us today to get started at 1-800-655-6585.
Eleven years ago, one San Diego mother faced any parent’s worst nightmare when she lost her son in a tragic accident resulting from distracted driving. Now, that same mother is on a mission to help spread awareness about the dangers associated with distracted driving.
Parent advocate Elene Bratton shared her story Wednesday at Rady Children’s Hospital in light of National Child Passenger Safety Week held through September 21. The awareness program is part of the efforts of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to reduce child-related injuries and deaths due to car accidents.
Bratton lost her son in April 24, 2002. Her sister, Angela, had picked up her son up from school that day. Bratton’s sister says the last thing she remembers is reaching for her cell phone. She had heard it ringing and wanted to answer the call.
As she reached for her cell phone, she accidentally made a turn and lost control over the vehicle, careening and colliding with a truck. Bratton’s son, Jamie, was critically injured in the crash. He was airlifted to Rady Children’s Hospital where he tragically died in the hospital just one month shy of his 6th birthday.
Angela, Bratton’s sister, survived the accident but was critically injured. She sustained a traumatic brain injury that continues to affect her life eleven years later.
“Jamie was in the back seat, buckled up as he should’ve been,” said Bratton. “But his little body couldn’t withstand the impact that happened when [my sister] lost control of her vehicle and made a left-hand turn into traffic.”
It goes without saying that accidents like these are completely distressing, shocking and harrowing to the mental health of the survivors and the family involved in the accident.
“My family has been grappling now for 11 years with the impact of what distracted driving does,” she said. “Every day I think about my son, and every day I wish that he was here and that I was just a mother of a 17-year-old, taking him to soccer or whatever he would be doing in his life now. I don’t know what my son looks like anymore.”
Bratton co-founded a San Diego-based foundation called Jamie’s Joy to help raise awareness for traffic safety following the deeply saddening death of her son.
“Jamie’s legacy is love, peace, joy and connection,” she said. He was a beautiful, active boy who loved people and loved life. He had a lot of life left to live.”
ACCIDENTS CAUSED BY DISTRACTED DRIVING IN SAN DIEGO
Distracted driving is a serious concern in San Diego and across the United States. The NHTSA reports that just over 3,300 people were killed in car accidents involving a distracted driver. And an incredible 387,000 people were injured as a result of distracted driving. It goes without saying: Always pay attention to the road ahead! In addition, always:
WEAR YOUR SEATBELT AND BUCKLE UP YOUR CHILD. Most accidents occur within a 10 mile radius of home. Do not risk it – always use your seat belt and buckle up your child as well. Children are inherently more fragile when it comes to injury. The NHTSA says that one-third of children under the age of 13 who died in car accidents in 2011 were tragically not wearing seatbelts.
USE BOOSTERS AND PROPER CAR SEATS. California state law requires parents to use booster seats for children under the age of 8 or under 4’9” Always equip smaller children in the appropriate booster or infant car seat. For more info on the California car seat laws, click here.
To help reduce the temptation to use your cell phone while driving:
USE A TEXT-FREE APP. It may be tempting to reach for your cell when you hear a text coming in, but don’t do it – one small error can result in catastrophic injury or even wrongful death. Instead, use a text-free app that queues incoming texts until you are fully stopped.
HIDE YOUR CELL. For those who just can’t seem to kick the habit, try “hiding” your cell phone in the trunk or in a locked glove compartment. It can literally save your life and the lives of other drivers.
INJURY OR DEATH CAUSED BY DISTRACTED DRIVING
Senseless death and injury is one of the most tragic occurrences on our roadways today. If you or a family member have been injured in a car accident and you suspect distracted driving may have been the cause, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Give us a call for a FREE legal consultation at 1-800-655-6585 or click here to email us the details of your case.