On Monday January 7, 2019, around 12:08 p.m., a collision at the intersection of Lakewood Boulevard and Willow Street in Long Beach caused the death of 25-year-old Corey Haggerty of Lakewood. The motorcyclist and a driver of a 2018 Ford Explorer made contact as the motorcycle changed lanes to make a left turn onto Willow Street. The Ford Explorer had just exited the 405 freeway.

The Press Telegram reports that Long Beach firefighters responded to the scene, but were unable to save Haggerty, who was thrown from his 2012 Honda CBR 600 to the southbound lane. Haggerty was pronounced dead at the scene.

The Ford Explorer driver, a 49-year-old woman from Torrance, stopped at the scene and cooperated with officers. She and her fellow passenger were uninjured. At this point, “Detectives do not believe the driver of the SUV was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the collision.” The collision and investigation closed the southbound and northbound ramps to the freeway for about 4 hours. Officers will continue investigating the incident to determine the cause.

Los Angeles and Southern California have been hit by early January storms, causing many serious car and truck accidents, as well as significant rainfall and flooding.  Downtown Los Angeles has sustained almost five (5) inches of rainfall, as per the report of 5:47pm, January 17, 2019, of the National Weather Service.  See Los Angeles Almanac.

If you were involved in a car or truck accident in the rain, here are a few things to do:  be sure to call 911 if you were injured or need other emergency assistance, and before moving any of the vehicles try to take detailed photos of all vehicles, their damage and the scene of the collision.  Also, get all identifying information, including take photos of the other party’s driver’s license, insurance cards and vehicle license plates.

If you were not at fault, it’s wise to call the police and wait until they arrive (which, unfortunately, may take even longer when it’s raining) to get a written police report, usually called a “traffic collision report”, to help prove you were not at fault.  If you were not at fault, we cannot emphasize enough how important and helpful a favorable police report can be to winning your case and also proving to your own insurance company that you were not at fault so your insurance rates will not go up!

Recently, heavy rain in Southern California has made for extremely dangerous driving conditions. The heavy rains have decreased visibility on already busy roads, which has led to several car accidents through Ventura County and its surrounding counties. The rain has been particularly problematic during commuting hours and CHP reported “there have been a lot of crashes [and] people hitting the guardrails.” Several drivers have reported losing control of their vehicles because of the slick roads.

One particular accident near Camarillo resulted in a deadly head-on collision. According to the Ventura County Star, a 65-year-old man from Oxnard driving a Nissan pickup lost control of his vehicle while traveling westbound. The car crossed into oncoming traffic, “for reasons that are still being investigated” and hit a Ford F-250 pickup driven by a 27-year-old man from Oxnard.

Emergency personnel responded to the scene of the accident and the Nissan driver was pronounced dead at the scene. The Ford F-250 driver was taken to the St. John’s Pleasant Valley hospital for his injuries suffered in the collision.

Although the holiday season can be a wonderful time of year, full of celebration, it can also be a dangerous time of year especially over the New Year’s holiday weekend. New Year’s Celebrations often include drinking, and far too often people make the dangerous and reckless choice to drive while intoxicated.

This was true over the New Year’s holiday weekend here in California. The Los Angeles Times reported that 36 people died in DUI related car accidents over the holiday weekend, which spanned from December 28, 2018 to January 2, 2019. Four of those killed were pedestrians. California Highway Patrol stated the death toll was higher than last year, as only 23 people were killed over the 2017/2018 holiday. In Los Angeles County, one person was killed, which was down from the six killed the previous year.

According to the California Highway Patrol, the four-day holiday period included maximum enforcement of DUI driving laws. This led to the arrests of 1,140 drivers statewide who were arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence. CHP officers stated that, “although that’s an increase from the previous year’s 936, this year’s holiday span was a day longer because New Year’s Day fell on a Tuesday.”

It’s now 2019! The holiday season is winding down, and day-to-day routines are back in action. The New Year brings new hopes, and certainly the hope of avoiding injury is at the top of the list.

In 2018, accidental injury became the number 3 cause of death of the first time in United States history. The National Safety Council reported that “an American is accidentally injured every second and killed every three minutes by a preventable event.” These preventable events include accidents from vehicle crashes to falls. Luckily, these injuries are preventable and by taking certain precautions you can put you and your family on a path toward a safer year.

Below are five ways to avoid some of the most common injuries and stay safe in 2019:

When it comes to hit-and-run pedestrian accidents, most often we think of an incident involving a vehicle. However, a new California law, which goes into effect with the new year, makes it a crime for a bicyclist to hit a pedestrian while on a bike path and flee the scene.

According to the Daily Bulletin, the law already applied to cyclist/pedestrian accidents on the road, but is now expanded to cover accidents on bike paths as well. Under the new law, “a bicyclist who strikes a pedestrian on a bike path causing injuries or death will now have to stay put, helping the injured person if possible and waiting for police” or else face criminal charges like a hit-and run motorist would face.

The new law was encouraged after several incidents of cyclist/pedestrian accidents along bike paths—pedestrians were hit and left injured on the path, while the cyclist rode away with no legal consequences to prevent them from doing so. One example was 61-year-old Bill Finbeiner who was hit by a bicyclist while walking along a path. He suffered “a fractured skull, a broken nose, facial fractures, a broken left hand and a broken left thumb, in addition to having two teeth knocked out and the back of both hands torn up.” However, it wasn’t a crime to hit someone and leave, so the cyclist rode away.

A driver of a black Lincoln and his female passenger were killed in a Hyde Park car accident December 16, 2018. According to KTLA News, around 9:00 in the morning, the car left the road just east of Crenshaw Boulevard, and smashed into an abandoned building.

The male driver was partially ejected from the car as a result of the impact. The female passenger was fully ejected from the car, and both were pronounced dead at the scene. Because of the collapse of the structure onto the car, police believe it will “require an extended extrication to recover the bodies due to safety concerns with building collapse.”

As of right now, the cause of the accident remains unknown. Police said speeding is very common on the street but are not certain that is was caused this crash. In a crash like this, that involves no other vehicles, there are many possible causes for the police to consider such as driving while intoxicated (either alcohol or drugs), driving while texting, or even drowsy driving. It is very important that a thorough investigation is conducted to determine the cause of the accident.

A Riverside County dog attack on Saturday resulted in dog bite injuries to an Anza woman. According to ABC 7 News, the woman was outside hanging laundry out to dry when three dogs attacked her around 9:30 a.m.

Emergency personnel and animal control were called and responded to the scene. Ultimately, the woman was airlifted to the hospital because of her injuries. The three dogs were taken by animal control—all three are pit bulls or pit bull mixes. It is likely that the dogs will be put down.

The owner of the dogs was contacted and later arrested on other outstanding warrants. Animal Services director stated, “This is another preventable attack on an innocent person and one we find very upsetting…Our hearts go out to [the victim] and her family.”

On February 9, 2014, 26-year-old Olivia Culbreath from Fontana, drove against oncoming traffic causing a horrific California drunk driving collision that killed six people.

According to ABC 7 News, Culbreath had been previously drinking before entering the freeway and driving her Camaro the wrong way at “speeds of up to 100 miles per hour in the early morning.” Her car slammed into a Ford explorer, and ultimately caused a three-car pileup. Four people in the explorer, all from the same family, were killed. Two passengers in Culbreath’s car were also killed, one of the victims being her sister.

Three hours after the accident her blood alcohol level was still .15%, nearly double the legal limit in California of .08%. Apparently, Culbreath had previously been arrested for a DUI and was warned by the court on that occasion about the dangers of driving under the influence. In May, she was convicted after pleading no contest to six counts of second-degree murder. This past week, the Judge sentenced her to thirty years to life for her actions that caused this terrible tragedy.

A 22-year-old young man from San Jacinto, Thomas Llamas, was recently killed in a Perris motorcycle accident. According to The Press-Enterprise, the Perris accident occurred at the intersection of Rider Street and Wilson Avenue, when a sedan made a left turn as Llamas was traveling straight through the intersection.

Llamas struck the passenger side of the vehicle. He was immediately taken to the Riverside University Medical Center in Moreno Valley, but passed away shortly after his arrival. The driver of the sedan was not injured in the accident and was not arrested. The police are still trying to determine what caused the accident, but drugs or alcohol do not appear to have been involved.

Unfortunately, fatalities from motorcycle accidents nationwide have more than doubled over the past 15 years. Motorcycles can be an especially appealing mode of transportation in Southern California due to the beautiful weather and heavily trafficked roads, but this can mean there is even more danger for motorcyclists. A report from earlier this year showed that in 2016, “566 motorcyclists were killed in California — an 11 percent increase from 494 deaths in 2015…that doesn’t include the 14,400 motorcyclists injured.” California also ranks in the top 15 of the 50 states for motorcycle fatalities.

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