SAN DIEGO NEWS 10 reported that a high speed chase with a Carlsbad police officer resulted in an auto accident causing injuries to four people on September 22, 2010. The incident started when a Carlsbad police officer was investigating a report of reckless driving by the driver of a Honda Accord whose occupants were throwing debris at passing vehicles. The 17-year-old driver of the Accord did not stop for the investigating officer and the pursuit began, according to Carlsbad Police Lt. Marc Reno. The driver then hit a street sign on the off-ramp at Carlsbad Village Drive while exiting Interstate 5 and then hit a Jeep, which had stopped for the traffic light at Monroe Street. The woman driver of the Jeep and a passengers in the Accord were transported to Palomar Medical Center. Two others who were involved in the accident, sustained serious injuries were flown to Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla. Since drug paraphernalia was found in the Accord, investigators will determine if drugs were involved.
Applicable California Law
The driver of the Accord will face numerous felony criminal charges for evading a police officer, reckless driving, and possibly driving under the influence of drugs resulting in bodily injury. In addition, he as well as the registered owner of the Accord will be liable for any claims for damage to property, personal injury to the woman in the Jeep, and his passengers as well as possible punitive damages for gross negligence (see my prior Blog post Justice For Family Of Nursing Home Abuse Victim for the law on punitive damages). If the passengers in the Accord contributed to causing their own injuries in any way, their claims would be reduced proportionately. If the police officer followed the Carlsbad police policy and procedure for high speed pursuit, he and the city would most likely be immune from any liability. However, a timely claim with the city should be filed pending further investigation as to procedures and protocol followed by the officer.
Teenage drivers often lack the discretion, experience, and maturity when driving creating dangerous circumstances, which result in serious accidents. Their indifference to road safety causes auto accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, and danger to pedestrians and property. If you have sustained serious injuries, or lost a loved one due to a reckless driver, consult with an experienced personal injury attorney.