Five people were killed and two were critically injured in a rollover crash near the Utah-Nevada border early morning on March 30, 2013. CBS Los Angeles identified the deceased victims, all members of the same family, as 53-year-old Belen Fernandez of Lynwood, 49-year-old Raudel Fernandez-Avila of Lynwood, 45-year-old Leonardo Fernandez-Avila of Los Angeles, 41-year-old Genaro Fernandez of Norwalk and 13-year-old Angela Sandoval of Los Angeles.
Fatal Rear End Collision
Officials say a 1999 Dodge Durango driven by an 18-year-old rear-ended a 2002 Chevy Astro Van carrying the family from Los Angeles. The van overturned. Five out of seven occupants were ejected. The 40-year-old female driver, who was buckled up and a 15-year-old passenger who was ejected from the van, have been hospitalized with critical injuries. The driver of the Durango, identified as Jean Soriano, has been arrested on suspicion of DUI. His passenger was hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries. All seven family members were trying to make it home for Easter, loved ones said.
Based on this news report, it appears that the driver of the Durango was under the influence at the time. In all states, it is illegal for anyone to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. In this particular case, both vehicles rolled over. It is not clear how many of the Chevy Astro’s occupants were belted. I trust officials are looking into whether the occupants were buckled up or if they were ejected due to seatbelts that failed.
It is also important to look into whether the defective design of the van caused it to roll over and injure its occupants. If a dangerous or defective vehicle caused or contributed this incident, then, the injured victims and family members of the deceased victims can file a product liability or wrongful death claim against the manufacturer of the vehicle. In this particular case, a claim can also be brought against the at-fault driver who caused the crash.
An experienced California personal injury lawyer will be able to guide injured victims and their families in such cases through what can be a complex legal process and ensure that they are fairly and fully compensated for their losses.