North County Times Teri Figueroa and Morgan Cook reported that San Marcos Sheriff’s deputy Dustin Lopez was injured in a three-car collision on August 12, 2011 at around 10 a.m.. The auto accident happened as Lopez, traveling southbound on Rancho Santa Fe in an unmarked police vehicle, hit a Honda van and a Mercedes, which were heading northbound and turning left onto westbound La Costa. According to witnesses Lopez ran the red light; however, the incident is still under investigation by the Carlsbad police. Lopez was transported to Palomar Medical Center in Escondido. The driver of the Mercedes, Christine Stanley, 60, of Carlsbad was taken to Scripps Memorial Hospital in Encinitas. Both drivers were treated for multiple injuries including head injuries. Lopez was on his way to a detail in Encinitas when the accident occurred.
Applicable California Law
If the witnesses account are correct, Lopez violated California Vehicle Code 21453, which requires a driver approaching a red light to stop and yield to opposing traffic. However, if Stanley or the driver of the Honda saw Lopez approaching and knew he was not going to stop they could be partially at fault for violating Vehicle Code 21801 failure to yield to an oncoming vehicle which is close enough to constitute a hazard. Lopez can pursue a workers compensation claim and possibly a personal injury claim(see my prior Blog post San Diego EMT Fatally Injured In Multi Vehicle Auto Accident for California work injuries and liability claims). Stanley and the driver of the van or any other injured person can pursue claims for property damage to their vehicles as well as personal injury claims after they comply with the claims reporting requirements (see my prior blog post San Diego Fire Crewman Killed in Car Accident Near Gorman Government claims reporting requirements).