San Diego News 8 reported that four motorcyclists as well as a passenger in another vehicle were killed and six others were injured on Saturday afternoon, November 13, 2010. The accident happened at around 1:00 p.m. on Route 98, a remote desert two-lane highway in Ocotillo, where riders of a Lakeside motorcycle club were on their way to Yuma Arizona to celebrate their 10th anniversary. Carlos Bobadilla, a resident of Mexicali, was driving a Dodge Avenger when he swerved to avoid hitting a Honda Civic, whose driver was attempting to pass the group of riders. Bobadilla then lost control of his vehicle, driving into the group of riders. Four motorcyclists were killed as well as the owner of the Avenger, a 31-year-old Mexicali woman; six others were injured including Bobadilla who was taken to a hospital for treatment of hand fractures. The driver of the Honda, who apparently caused the accident, did not stop and left the scene. Bobadilla was later arrested for driving under the influence; however, CHP officer DeeAnn Goudie said that it is still unclear if his alcohol consumption contributed to the accident, and thus he is only being charged with a misdemeanor at this time.
Our condolences go out to the friends and families of the deceased and a speedy recovery to those injured.
Applicable California Law
As stated previously Bobadilla will face criminal charges for driving under the influence (see my prior Blog post for California DUI law). Furthermore, if the identity of driver of the Honda is ascertained, he will face potential felony hit and run charges (see my prior Blog post on California Hit and Run law). In addition, both drivers will be liable for the wrongful death and personal injuries sustained by the motorcycle riders (see my prior Blog post on California Wrongful Death law). However, since there were multiple deaths and the Honda driver fled the scene, it is doubtful that Bobadilla or the owner of his vehicle carry enough liability insurance to adequately compensate the victims and their families. Hopefully, the deceased and the injured carry enough uninsured/ underinsured coverage of there own (see my prior Blog post for California Uninsured/Under-insured law).
A casual celebratory motorcycle ride turns into tragedy. Auto accidents resulting in motorcycle accidents usually cause serious injury or wrongful death. Talking to an experienced personal injury attorney when the time is appropriate is crucial to knowing your rights.