Man critically injured while vandalizing divider on the 55 freeway

An alleged tagger was struck by a vehicle along the southbound 55 Fwy at Chapman in Orange. The Santa Ana office of the CHP began receiving calls of taggers painting the center divider of the 55 Freeway. Moments later they got calls that one of the taggers was hit by  one of more cars. Arriving Officers found gravely injured 21 year old male on the shoulder of the freeway. He had been dragged out of lanes by another male tagger that was with him. The 21 year old was taken to the Trauma Center at OC Global Hospital in Santa Ana. It appears that the vehicle(s) that struck the tagger may have fled the scene.

The Santa Ana office of the CHP began receiving calls of taggers painting the center divider of the 55 Freeway. Moments later they got calls that one of the taggers was hit by one of more cars. Arriving Officers found gravely injured 21 year old male on the shoulder of the freeway. He had been dragged out of lanes by another male tagger that was with him. Photo Credit: OC Register

This incident is still under investigation. The 55 freeway is known to be a high traffic area and early Sunday just past midnight a man was struck on the southbound 55 near Chapman Avenue.

Two men were apparently vandalizing a center divider on the freeway. One of the men, 21 year old  Juan S. Espinoza of Orange was involved in this hit- and-run, according to California Highway Patrol. The 21 year old was taken to the Trauma Center at OC Global Hospital in Santa Ana with severe injuries to his right leg and head. . It appears that the vehicle(s) that struck the tagger may have fled the scene.

TRAFFIC : It’s been a deadly year for pedestrians in Santa Ana ; a pedestrian is hit every six days

Adriesue “Bitsy” Gomez put on a straw hat with a turquoise bow to walk the 99 Cents Only Store. The 72 year old woman wanted to buy a roll of Bounty paper towels and some gladiola bulbs to plant in the garden of his home in Santa Ana.

Spring had come, he told his daughters.

It was Sunday April 19, around three in the afternoon.

Way home, Gomez crossed Main Street between 15th and 16th Streets, where there is no crosswalk or traffic lights. She gave him a look at store receipt and something did not seem right, as discussed their daughters. His mother, a truck driver, Teamsters member and founder of the Women’s Coalition truck drivers, never too shy to speak.

So, according to his family, Gomez headed back to the store.

She stopped in the turning lane to the left to let the traffic pass, according to police and a video sequence. That’s when Gomez was hit by the driver of a gold-colored Nissan Maxima vehicle while making a left turn toward Main Street. The force of the impact threw Gomez back on a northbound lane. Two sandals rose into the air;Left landed several feet away.

When police arrived, they saw blood emerging from the mouth of Gomez and ran down his chest. Fearing he drowned, an officer laid it on its side and placed his head on the roll of paper towels. She died in the intensive care unit Western Medical Center two days later.

Tragically, the circumstances of the death of Gomez Bitsy are all too common. It has been a particularly deadly for walkers in the busiest streets of Orange County year.

Forty-eight people have been killed since January, according to data from the coroner’s office at the rate of 15 October.

That equates to almost a pedestrian died six days.

The county is on track to beat the total of pedestrian deaths last year, 55, following an irregular but upward trend that has spread over the past five years. Data from the coroner’s office in Orange County originating from 1992 show that the worst year on record was 1994, when 70 pedestrians were killed.

For a month, the newspaper The Register interviewed families, witnesses and authorities; reviewed police reports and other records; and analyzed a decade of traffic injury reports collected by the Injury Mapping System Transport UC Berkeley, along with nearly six years of data from the coroner’s office.

Common factors

The analysis suggests several common factors in the deaths of Gomez and others:

• The victims are usually elderly. Many walk at night when visibility is reduced.

• Over the past decade, nearly half – 47 percent – of pedestrians killed were hit crossing the road outside the crosswalk painted area.

• Drugs and alcohol played a role in less than 6 percent of deaths from 2004 to 2013. In only 4 percent of cases the driver received a ticket for speeding.

• Crosswalks make any difference, but less than expected. A quarter of pedestrians are hit and lose their lives while in a crosswalk designated.

• During the past five years, more pedestrians have been killed in Santa Ana that in any other city in Orange County, according to data from the coroner’s office, and most of its residents have died this year than in previous years going back to 2010 . Orange, Anaheim, Huntington Beach, Garden Grove and Westminster have also proved deadly cities.

And it’s not surprising. These are large and densely populated designed to accommodate vehicles with wide avenues built for fast moving traffic locations.

“The streets here are not designed for pedestrians,” said Gomez’s daughter, Rita Gomez, 52.

Statewide, the roads have been made safer for motorists, but not for pedestrians. Federal data show that deaths involving motor vehicles in California declined by 45 percent in the decade running from 2003 to 2013, while the rate of pedestrian fatalities has remained virtually at the same level.

California is the most deadly for pedestrians ninth state, according to the National Security Administration Highway Traffic with 701personas, or about two pedestrians per 100,000 people dead in 2013, the latest year with available data.

Tamara Redmon, program director of pedestrian safety with the Federal Highway Administration, said it’s hard to tell why pedestrian deaths appear to have changed. She points to the culture of state vehicles, lack of infrastructure for walking and biking and a growing interest in healthy activities such as walking.

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$4.9 million settlement reached in Kelly Thomas wrongful-death case


A $4.9 million settlement was announced in court Monday in the wrongful death lawsuit filed by the father of Fullerton-area transient Kelly Thomas.

A $4.9 million settlement was announced in court Monday in the wrongful death lawsuit filed by the father of Fullerton-area transient Kelly Thomas, it was announced in court this morning just hours before the civil case was to begin. Lawyers in the case just confirmed the amount after two of the city’s insurance carriers signed off on the accord. Less than an hour before, the City Council emerged from a closed-door, emergency meeting at City Hall.

“The settlement amount is still pending final approval by the city’s insurers, and therefore will not be announced at this time,” City Attorney Dick Jones announced at City Hall. “The contemplated settlement has been negotiated by the city’s insurers and has been reviewed by the city. No city funds are involved in this settlement.”

Within an hour, the amount surfaced in court. The suit was filed against Fullerton police after the 37-year-old man was beat to death in July 2011. As part of the settlement, the defendants would admit no liability in the case.

Porsche Announce Who Was At Fault In The Death Of Paul Walker

For nearly 15 years, the Fast & Furious movie franchise has produced a consistent string of blockbuster hits due to their action packed storylines, breathtaking scenes and stellar castings.

However, in November 2013, the movie series and its fans lost a lead actor, Paul Walker, after he was involved in a high-speed crash in his limited-edition 2005 Porsche Carrera GT.


Meadow Walker, the deceased actor’s daughter, filed a lawsuit claiming that Paul Walker died in “a dangerous car that doesn’t belong on the street.” The car she is talking about is the 2005 Porsche Carrera GT. She is suing for negligence and wrongful death, alleging that Porsche had failed to install necessary safety features and that the seat belt was defective. “Absent these defects in the Porsche Carrera GT, Paul Walker would be alive today. [The seat belt] snapped Walker’s torso back with thousands of pounds of force, thereby breaking his ribs and pelvis, flattening his seat and trapping him in a supine position, where he remained alive until the vehicle erupted into flames one minute and 20 seconds later.” She also talked about the vehicles complete lack of stability control, which is standard for almost all high end cars.

The car manufacturer are now seeking to dismiss the lawsuit, as they are claiming the vehicle in question had been “abused and altered”, as well as “misused and improperly maintained”.

Altogether, within their seven page filing, they are claiming that passenger Paul Walker, and driver, Roger Rodas, were fully aware of the risks upon entering the car, and their deaths are essentially down to their “own comparative fault”.

The crash occurred when the friends left together at 3:30am after an event for Walker’s own charity Reach Out Worldwide for victims of Typhoon Haiyan. Their car then collided with a lamppost in a 45mph zone on a Californian street, with security cameras later discovering that the car must have been travelling around 90-100mph.


Porsche claimed;

“PCNA alleges that Mr Walker knowingly and voluntarily assumed all risk, perils and danger in respect to the use of the subject 2005 Carrera GT, that the perils, risk and danger were open and obvious and known to him, and that he chose to conduct himself in a manner so as to expose himself to such perils, dangers and risks, thus assuming all the risks involved in using the vehicle. Mr Walker’s voluntary assumption of the risk should bar the plaintiff’s recovery or, in the alternative, should reduce the plaintiff’s right to recovery from PCNA in an amount equivalent to Mr Walker’s fault.”

This is a contrast to Meadow Walker’s suit, in which she accused the Volkswagen-owned car maker of knowing that the car had “history of instability and control issues”.

Walker’s death led to a temporary halt in production of “Furious 7,” an action movie in the “Fast & Furious” franchise about illegal streetcar racing.

The film was released this year after Walker’s brothers helped finish his scenes.

What do you do if caught in a flash flood? El Nino may be coming, be prepared!

We have all been experiencing the great California drought, however, relief may be on its way. There is the possibility of powerful, drenching rainstorms and though this is good for our state, trouble may arise. The good news is we all have time to prepare and inform others of how to stay safe. Here are some tips if you find you are caught in a flash flood.

  • If you are in a low-lying area during a flood, get to higher ground quickly. Avoid canyons, washes or ditches that can channel swift water.
  • Do not attempt to cross flooded roads or streams on foot. The water may be flowing more rapidly than it appears, and it can take as little as six inches of water to knock an adult off their feet.
  • Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to see flood dangers.
  • Never allow children to play near ditches and storm drains.
  • If your vehicle is suddenly caught in rising water, leave it immediately and seek higher ground.
  • If your car is swept into the water and submerged, DON’T PANIC! Stay calm and wait for the vehicle to fill with water. Once the vehicle is full, the doors will be able to open. Hold your breath and swim to the surface.
  • If you are swept into fast moving floodwater outside of your car, point your feet downstream. Always go over obstacles, never try to go under.
  • If you are stranded on something above the floodwater, such as a tree or building, stay put and wait for rescue. Do not enter the floodwater.
  • When help arrives, stay calm and follow the directions of the rescue team.



High School Football Player in Coma After Suffering Head Injury During Football Game

Josh Nava, # 18, a high school football player was in a medically induced coma recently after undergoing emergency surgery following an apparent head injury suffered during a game on Friday night. This video shows the moment of impact, Josh was able to get up and stumble to the sidelines where he collapsed.

Head injuries in football are growing.There is new helmet technology starting to come out and hopefully this will prevent these types of incidents. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Josh Nava’s family.

11 Million Vehicles Affected By Volkswagen Recall

This year Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. and Volkswagen AG received notice from the US Environmental Protection Agency, US Department of Justice and the California Air Resources Board informing VW that those agencies had determined that some of our 2.0L 4-cylinder TDI vehicles do not comply with applicable emissions regulations.

The vehicles included in the notifications include:

  • VW Jetta TDI (Model Years 2009 – 2015)
  • VW Jetta SportWagen TDI (Model Years 2009-2014)
  • VW Golf TDI (Model Years 2010-2015)
  • VW Golf SportWagen TDI (Model Year 2015)
  • VW Beetle TDI and VW Beetle Convertible TDI (Model Years 2012-2015)
  • VW Passat TDI (Model Years 2012-2015)

As environmental protection and sustainability are among Volkswagen’s strategic corporate objectives, the Company takes this matter very seriously and is cooperating with the investigation.

“Volkswagen is committed to finding a remedy as soon as possible. We want to assure customers and owners of these models that their automobiles are safe to drive, and we are working to develop a remedy that will meet the expectations of the government agencies.”Michael Horn, President and CEO  – Volkswagen Group of America. “Owners of these vehicles do not need to take any action at this time. Once we have information regarding a remedy, consumers will be notified.”

VW stopped advertising their latest TDI models while they seek government approvals. To determine whether your vehicle has been affected by the 2.0L TDI emissions issue, enter your vin –>

Tori Spelling sues Benihana over burn injuries

Actress Tori Spelling is suing Benihana restaurants, alleging that she was badly burned after slipping and falling on a hot grill at one of the hibachi chain’s locations in California. The court documents claimed Spelling “sustained deep second- and third-degree burn injuries requiring hospitalization and surgery” leading to wage loss, hospital and medical expenses, general damage and “loss of earning capacity.

Burn injuries can be severe and disfiguring

According to the American Burn Association this year there were:

 486,000 Burn Injuries Receiving Medical Treatment.

3,240 Fire/Smoke Inhalation Deaths.

40,000 Hospitalizations related to burn injury, including 30,000 at hospital burn centers.

Compensation for Burn Victims

At Sariol Legal Center, we are dedicated to helping accident victims and their families get the financial resources they need to cope with the life-changing effects of serious burn injuries. We provide vigorous representation and compassionate counsel at all stages of the legal process. If your loved one has suffered burns in an accident, we want to help you.

Call us today at 866-953-1995. In a free consultation, Orange County burn accident lawyer Frank Sariol can discuss your case and the steps we can take to help you get the compensation you need to rebuild your life.

Moments after a slip and fall accident, here is what you need to know

Slip and fall accidents are scary because they can happen anytime and anywhere. You or a friend may be in a store, apartment building, parking lot or shopping for groceries when it happens. It is unexpected and will catch you off guard. Make sure you know your rights and who is on your side.

If you are injured in a store, you will likely find yourself pursued by their insurance company or claims management looking for you to give them all the evidence they need to defeat your claim.  You may be in a state of panic since you just had a horrible experience and may not even know the full extent of your injuries. The insurance company is not on your side, so before you answer make sure you know your rights. The first steps to take after a slip and fall accident are crucial as they can help build your case.

  1. SEEK MEDICAL HELP:  This is top priority, so make sure you seek medical attention and your bills will help as proof in your case.
  2. INSURANCE COMPANY: Do NOT give the insurance company a recorded statement
  3. REPORT THE INCIDENT: Make sure you report the incident to a property manager or manager of the store. They should file an incident report and again this is good proof for your case.
  4. DOCUMENT WHAT HAPPENED: Photograph the scene and your injuries. Photos are exceptional proof in your case.
  5. GATHER ATTIRE: Put your clothes and shoes into  ziplock bag and do not wash or clean.
  6. CONTACT AN ATTORNEY: Since many slip and fall cases are difficult to prove, you need the resources of a successful law firm. Contact us TODAY to discuss your options.



Halloween and Fall Back is one of the most dangerous weekends of the year

Halloween is one of the most dangerous days of the year and it is important to be prepared. Last year 4 pedestrians were killed on halloween night and this year the prediction is higher.

By now you have the pumpkins carved and kids costumes ready, but have you given them a safety talk? It is important to take the time to sit the kids aside and go over safety rules as well as be prepared if you are driving on halloween. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the evening hours tend to be the deadliest time on the road and for pedestrians.

To stay safe, on Halloween, NHTSA offers the following tips:

For Motorists

  • Use caution while behind the wheel.
    • Slow down and be alert in residential areas.
    • Enter and exit driveways and alleys carefully.
    • Eliminate distractions so you can concentrate on the road and your surroundings.
  • Drive sober or get pulled over.
    • Always designate a sober driver and plan a way to safely get home at the end of the night if you plan on celebrating Halloween with alcohol.
    • Use your community’s sober ride program or take a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation.
    • If you see a drunk driver on the road, contact local law enforcement.
    • If you know someone who is about to drive or ride while impaired, take their keys and help them make safe travel arrangements to where they are going.

For Pedestrians

  • Walking impaired can be just as dangerous as drunk driving. Designate a sober friend to walk you home.
  • Help keep kids safe.
    • Children out at night and under the age of 12 should have adult supervision.
    • Kids should stick to familiar areas that are well lit and trick-or-treat in groups.
    • Choose face paint when possible instead of masks, which can obstruct a child’s vision.
    • Decorate costumes with reflective tape and have kids carry glow sticks or flashlights.
    • Always cross the street at corners, using traffic sign and crosswalks, and look left, right and left again when crossing and keep looking as you cross.

Last year in Orange County, California four little girls were killed. They were in the crosswalk when a fast-moving Honda CR-V plowed into them, then sped away, according to police and witnesses.

It was the first of two fatal incidents involving pedestrians in Orange County on Halloween. Some 10 miles away in Irvine, about 30 minutes after the girls were hit, a 65-year-old man was trick-or-treating with his 4-year-old son when a Mazda struck them. The man was killed; the boy was rushed to a trauma center, where he was in critical condition.

Please be careful, prepare your children, take a flashlight and wear bright clothes. Have a safe and happy halloween!


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