High speed chases involving police vehicles and civilian vehicles can become very controversial. One common objection is the hazard posed for law abiding drivers. A second objection is the relative inefficacy of such chases. Both characteristics were on display in a high-speed car chase in the northeast portion of Los Angeles.
The sequence of events that led to the accident began with the pursuit of an automobile by two Fontana policemen in what was described as “related to a criminal investigation.” The chase entered and left the cities of Fontana, Rialto, and Rancho Cucamonga. The Fontana requested assistance from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Airship. The airship enabled Fontana police to find the fleeing car and begin the pursuit along Route 210.
At about 12:15, the suspect left the freeway at Beech Avenue. The fleeing driver failed to obey a stop sign at the intersection and collided with a vehicle that had previously been uninvolved in the chase. Both occupants of this vehicle sustained severe injuries, and one of them was pronounced dead at the scene. The passenger in the uninvolved vehicle and the fleeing driver were taken to a local hospital for treatment. Their condition is unknown. The Fontana Police Department requested the assistance of the San Bernardino Major Accident Investigation Unit to fully investigate the collision.
Can anyone claim damages?
Two parties have potential claims arising out of the collision, but the nature and strength of the claims depend upon the relation of the parties to each other. If the two persons in the car that was struck by the fleeing driver are not related, the injured person may have a claim against the driver depending upon the outcome of the post-accident investigation. This person and the family of the driver may also have claims against the fleeing suspect. Those claims rest upon the suspect’s failure to obey the stop sign and exceeding posted speed limits.
Anyone who has been injured or lost a loved one under similar circumstances may wish to consult an experienced accident attorney for an evaluation of the evidence and estimate of the likelihood of recovering damages for medical expenses, lost income and pain and suffering.