5 farm workers were killed going to work recently when their van was struck in heavy fog on Highway 4, east of Stockton. The fact that 5 innocent people died and others were injured is only part of the story. We want to look at what wasn’t clearly reported that could impact you and any case you may ever be involved in.
There is no way to think about this as anything other than a tragic and preventable accident. As far as accidents go this is what you might call a “Perfect Storm”. We had severe fog, it was during the commute time of day so we had the maximum number of drivers on the road, we had excessive speed for the conditions and we had numerous passengers that were not wearing their seatbelts (We are not even going to comment on unlicensed drivers being behind the wheel as we do not know their level of driving experience).
The verbal report issued by CHP Spokesman Officer James Smith reported that there was thick fog with very limited visibility, speeds that were unsafe for conditions, none of the passengers were wearing seatbelts and neither driver had a valid driver’s license. Officer Smith went on to report that it did not appear that negligence or misconduct played a role in the accident! If the lack of seat belts, unsafe speed for conditions and no drivers license don’t represent negligence or misconduct what does? These items are at the very core of misconduct and negligent behavior. If the speeds had been reasonable for the conditions, had the passengers been restrained per California law and if the drivers had passed the requirements to drive in the Golden State things might have turned out very differently!
Although law enforcement officers try to do a thorough job investigating accidents, they don’t always get it right. The officers opinions about the cause of the collision is also not evidence of negligence. Negligence is determined by a judge or a jury based on the facts of the event. Reports and conclusions like this are why we dissect police reports and get to the facts. Here we have “facts” reported that are more of a biased opinion. The so called “Facts” ought to be examined. For the sake of the families involved in this horrific event we hope that investigation is done by an experienced investigator sooner as opposed to later.
If you or a loved one has been injured give The Law office of Guenard & Bozarth a call. We have worked with numerous injury victims and we can help you! Call us at 888-809-1075 or visit us at www.gblegal.com We Can Help!