The family of a young Caltrans worker who was killed on the job by a suspected drunk driver in April of last year, has filed a wrongful death suit against Caltrans, the California Highway Patrol (CHP), and the Flatiron Construction Company. The suit contends that adequate precautions were not taken around the construction zone to protect workers' safety.
The 21-year-old Corona resident was struck and killed when a 37-year-old man of Arcadia drove his car through a construction zone just before midnight on Interstate 10 in Baldwin Park where the younger man was working. The motorist was driving sixty miles per hour when he struck the freeway worker, who was thrown at least fifty feet and died immediately. The driver has been charged with second-degree murder.
The lanes where the victim and other Caltrans employees were working had been blocked off with road cones at Francisquito Avenue. However, the victim's family contends in the lawsuit that protocol for barricading a road construction site was not followed. The freeway worker's father, who was a World Speedway Motorcycle Racing champion, appeared on the popular television show, CHiPs, which was about CHP officers.
The construction site closure was set up by Flatiron Construction and CHP less than an hour before the accident. The suit notes that Caltrans requires barricades every 2,000 feet across all lanes and shoulders to protect workers and the construction area. The family also alleges that CHP officers assigned to the construction zone were two miles away, when they should have been in front of the zone. They also contend that proper signage was not in place to warn drivers of the construction site and lane closure. According to the lawsuit, the only barricade that the suspected drunk driver hit before he struck the young man was a two-foot cone, which he ran over.
All wrongful death suits have some complexity and high stakes and attorneys with a reputation for excellence in the realm of personal injury or wrongful death claims can be vital. Thissuit may prove to be particularly complicated and hard fought because it involves three parties, two of which are state entities.
Source: The Press-Enterprise, "Freeway worker's family files wrongful death suit" John Asbury, Jun. 07, 2013