Articles Posted in Bike & Pedestrian Accidents

A 19-year-old skateboarder was hit and killed by a 47-year-old man who was suspected to be high at the time of the accident. According to local news reports, the driver was proceeding down Unser Boulevard when the accident occurred. A witness called police, and recordings reveal the witness exclaiming that the teenager was bleeding and that his head was split open.

When police arrived at the scene of the accident, the driver admitted to being under the influence of several pharmaceutical drugs. When the officers attempted to test the man regarding his level of impairment, he was stumbling and unable to stand up straight. Currently, the man is facing charges ranging from leaving the scene of an accident to homicide by a vehicle.

Driving Under the Influence of Drugs in New Mexico
In New Mexico, it is against the law and a crime to drive if one is incapacitated by a drug. It does not matter whether the drug is illicit or legal. The law specifies that a person can be held culpable of driving while drugged if the influence of that drug makes the person incapable of operating their motor vehicle safely.
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Late last week, a New Mexican man fled the scene of an accident that injured a 10-year-old boy. According to a local news report, the man claimed that he was driving home when the young boy ran out in front of his car. Instead of stopping, the man continued about a block away to his home. He explained that when he got home, he felt an immense amount of guilt and decided that he had to go back to the scene of the incident.

During the period the man was at his home contemplating what to do, someone else notified emergency personnel. The young child was rushed to a local hospital. At the current time, the extent of the young child’s injuries are not known.

Hit-and-Run Laws in New Mexico

In the United States, over 30,000 people are either seriously injured or killed in car accidents every year. Many times, this is because the individual who hit the victim may not remain at the scene of the crime, which can result in the victim not receiving prompt medical treatment.
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On Christmas Eve in Santa Fe, an individual was hit by a car and killed as a result of the accident. A local Santa Fe news report indicated that the victim has finally been identified after his family was notified. The 33-year-old man was walking near Cerrillos Road and Siler Road. He was crossing the street when the accident occurred. Unfortunately, he passed away after being hit by the car. A preliminary investigation has revealed that the man was not in a proper crosswalk when he was hit by the car. Since the man was not in the crosswalk when he was crossing the road, the driver of the car that hit him is not currently being charged with any crime.

Civil Liability Without Criminal Liability in New Mexico
If an individual was injured by the negligence of another party, he or she may be able to bring a negligence claim against that party if he or she can establish the elements of negligence. To bring a claim of negligence in New Mexico, the plaintiff must be able to prove that he or she was injured by another individual who owed him or her a duty of care, that individual breached that duty, and as a result the plaintiff suffered injuries and damages. Many people believe that if no criminal charges were pressed against the wrongdoer, a civil claim will not be successful. However, that is not the case because the legal standards for criminal negligence and civil negligence differ. Although it is easier to prove negligence if criminal charges were pressed, the absence of them is not a bar to recovery.
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A recent decision by the New Mexico Court of Appeals reversed a prior judgment, allowing a woman’s product liability and negligence lawsuit against the manufacturer of a crosswalk lighting system and the City of Las Cruces, New Mexico to proceed toward trial.

The Accident
On October 9, 2008 the plaintiff was crossing at a marked crosswalk in Las Cruces, New Mexico, when she was struck by a car and seriously injured. The woman claimed that she pushed the button at the crosswalk, but the flashing lights did not function properly to alert the driver of the car that ultimately hit her. The woman filed suit against the manufacturer of the lighting system and the city of Las Cruces, alleging that the company supplied a defective product, which was negligently employed by the city and caused her to be injured.

The Lower Court’s Ruling
The Defendants argued that the woman’s claim was invalid based on her own testimony taken in a deposition. The woman said that she would have crossed the street regardless of whether the warning lights were flashing. Based on the fact that the woman suggested the defective lights were not a cause of the accident, the New Mexico district Court ruled that the plaintiff did not present sufficient evidence for a jury to decide that the city nor the manufacturers were liable for her injuries.
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The Las Cruces Police Department has arrested a 28-year-old man who stands accused of killing a 57-year-old man in an August hit-and-run bicycle accident. According to crash investigators, the bicycle rider was traveling south on Valley Drive around 9 pm when he was struck from behind by a red Chevrolet pick-up truck. Police stated the bicycle became lodged beneath the truck after the bicyclist was thrown several feet from the street. The driver of the pick-up truck purportedly continued heading south on the roadway. Police later found the bicycle on South Main Street under an interstate overpass.

Following the crash, emergency responders transported the bicyclist to University Medical Center of El Paso where he was reportedly placed on life support. Sadly, the 57-year-old man died as a result of the injuries he sustained in the hit-and-run accident three days later.

In early September, accident investigators received information that led them to question the 28-year-old man in connection with the fatal incident. He was later charged with leaving the scene of an accident that caused bodily harm or death, careless driving, and evidence tampering. According to police, the man struck the bicyclist while reaching for his mobile telephone. He is currently being held in the Dona Ana County Detention Center.
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An off-duty United States Border Patrol Agent allegedly struck and killed an El Paso Bicyclist in an early morning crash on New Mexico State Road 136 in Santa Teresa. According to New Mexico State Police Spokesperson Sergeant Emmanuel Gutierrez, the 29-year-old Border Patrol Agent claims the 47-year-old victim unexpectedly swerved in front of his pick-up truck as he traveled to work. Following the bicycle accident, the driver allegedly stopped and performed CPR on the man until emergency responders arrived. The bicycle rider was transported to Sierra Providence Hospital where he died about five hours after the accident.

The exact cause of the fatal bicycle accident is currently under investigation by the New Mexico State Police. According to investigators, there is no reason to believe the driver was distracted by his cellular telephone at the time of the deadly crash. Still, a bicyclist who was riding with the decedent at the time of the incident stated the 47-year-old was a conscientious rider for numerous years. Rolando Morales, Advocacy Director for EP Cyclists, added that the roadway is popular with bicycle riders and said vehicle drivers need to understand that bicyclists have the same rights as cars. Once the investigation is completed, it will reportedly be reviewed by the New Mexico District Attorney’s Office.

As this case demonstrates, whether you are traveling by bicycle, motor vehicle, or simply walking on a sidewalk, an unexpected accident with a reckless or inattentive driver can occur at any time. Section 66-3-702 of New Mexico’s Motor Vehicle Code requires that all bicycle riders who travel on a roadway in our state be afforded the same rights as motor vehicles. Regrettably, too many motorists choose to ignore this requirement. A bicyclist who is involved in a traffic wreck with an automobile may sustain severe and disabling injuries as a result of a collision. In too many cases, a New Mexico bicycle rider is tragically killed.
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A 58-year-old motorist was sentenced to six months in jail in connection with the death of a 19-year-old bicyclist more than two years ago in Laguna. Gilbert Waconda allegedly struck the bicyclist with his sport utility vehicle as he rode on New Mexico State Road 124 in June 2010. The deceased bicyclist was reportedly on a cross country journey along Old Route 66 with three friends in an effort to raise money for charity.

According to Chief Prosecutor Dave Adams, there was no evidence that Waconda was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the fatal crash. Still, Adams alleged that Waconda was driving on the shoulder of the roadway when the wreck occurred and that his conduct was reckless. Although the motorist reportedly pleaded guilty to misdemeanor negligent homicide as part of a negotiated agreement, a Laguna Pueblo judge handed down the maximum possible jail sentence and ordered Waconda to perform 600 hours of community service.

Whether you are riding a bicycle, traveling in a motor vehicle, or merely walking on a sidewalk, an unexpected accident with a reckless or inattentive motorist can occur at any time. Section 66-3-702 of New Mexico’s Motor Vehicle Code requires that all bicyclists who are riding on a roadway in our state be afforded the same rights as automobiles. Unfortunately, too many drivers ignore this requirement. Sadly, a bicyclist may sustain serious and disabling injuries as a result of a crash with a vehicle. If you were hurt by careless motorist while traveling on your bicycle or in your car, you may be entitled to receive financial compensation for your medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other damages. If you tragically lost a loved one in such a crash, you may be eligible to file a wrongful death claim against the driver who caused the wreck. A skilled bicycle accident attorney can explain your rights in more detail.
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A homeless man was recently killed after he was hit by two automobiles on St. Michael’s Drive in Santa Fe. 48-year-old Ernie Baca was allegedly wearing dark clothing and walking in one of the westbound lanes of the roadway when he was hit by a Subaru that was headed west around 8:30 pm. Immediately following the initial crash, Baca was reportedly struck by another automobile. The injured man was purportedly transported to Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center with serious head injuries. Sadly, Baca later died as a result of the injuries he sustained in the traffic accident.

The exact cause of the pedestrian accident is currently under investigation by the Santa Fe Police Department. According to Deputy Chief John Schaerfl, neither driver appeared to be intoxicated when Baca was struck. In addition, Schaerfl said speed does not appear to have played a factor in the crash. At this time, it is unknown whether Baca himself was intoxicated when he was hit. Schaerfl stated the area where Baca was struck is dimly lit at night.

Negligent, careless, or reckless drivers often cause pedestrian accidents in New Mexico and elsewhere. More than 4,200 pedestrians died and about 70,000 were hurt in traffic accidents throughout the United States in 2010. Sadly, that was a four percent increase over the previous year. Pedestrian fatalities in 2010 accounted for 13 percent of all traffic deaths. In addition, approximately 73 percent of all pedestrian crashes occurred in a city or other urban setting and about two-thirds of those killed were men.

Regrettably, whenever someone who is traveling on foot is struck by a vehicle the resulting injuries can be catastrophic or fatal. Depending on the facts of the situation, a pedestrian accident victim may be entitled to receive compensation for their medical expenses, lost benefits and wages, suffering and pain, and any resulting disability. Certain relatives of someone who was killed in a pedestrian accident may be able to recover the costs associated with their loved one’s funeral and other damages. If you or a close family member was hurt in a New Mexico pedestrian accident, you only have three years during which to file a lawsuit. Because of this limitation, it important for you to speak with a skilled personal injury lawyer as soon as possible following any traffic accident.
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Last week, a pedestrian was left with allegedly disabling injuries after she was struck by an automobile in a crosswalk at the intersection of Cerrillos Road and St. Michael’s Drive in Santa Fe. According to Santa Fe Police Sgt. Andrea Dobyns, 49-year-old Candice O’Dell was hit by a car after she stepped off of the curb and into the crosswalk. Despite that two signs warn drivers to yield to pedestrians, Dobyns stated the 27-year-old driver involved in the crash likely did not have enough time to come to a stop when O’Dell entered the dedicated turn lane.

According to accident witnesses, O’Dell stepped out in front of the car that hit her without first looking for traffic. During the crash, O’Dell’s head reportedly struck and partially shattered the passenger windshield of the vehicle. Immediately following the accident, O’Dell was taken to Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center where she reportedly remains in critical condition. O’Dell allegedly suffered both a spinal injury and a head injury in the collision.

According to Dobyns, the cause of the accident remains under investigation. She stated the driver of the automobile that struck O’Dell was not ticketed and there was no reason to believe he was speeding at the time of the crash. The accident occurred at the same intersection where 46-year-old Nina Heman was killed last year in a similar incident. In July 2011, Heman was struck by a pick-up truck as she stepped into the crosswalk of the same dedicated turn lane. The driver of the truck that hit Heman also was not cited.

It is unclear why pedestrians continue to be injured or killed at this particular intersection. Sometimes, in addition to careless, negligent, or reckless drivers, poorly designed roadways can contribute to an increase in injury accidents. Unfortunately, whenever a pedestrian is hit by an automobile, the resulting injuries are often traumatic or fatal. Depending on the situation, pedestrian accident victims may be eligible to receive damages for their medical costs, suffering and pain, lost benefits and wages, and any resulting disability. Additionally, the family members of someone killed in a pedestrian accident may be able to recover funeral expenses and other damages. If you or a loved one were a victim in a New Mexico pedestrian accident, you only have up to three years to file your case. This is why it is important to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as you can after an accident.
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On April 25th, 59-year-old Frank Witwol was struck while riding his bicycle in a dedicated bike lane on Old Pecos Trail in Santa Fe. Although the lane he was riding in is devoted solely to bicycles, it is also situated between two motorized vehicle lanes. Witwol was reportedly struck from behind by 83-year-old Jeannine Smith as she allegedly crossed the bike lane in order to navigate her automobile into the right-hand turn lane. Although Smith claimed Witwol rear-ended her vehicle, her car was damaged on the front passenger side. Despite that Witwol’s bicycle was destroyed and he spent three nights in the Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center with broken ribs and a collapsed lung, Smith was only ticketed by local police. Because alcohol was not a suspected factor in the crash, Smith was cited for inattentive driving.

Witwol stated he has no recollection of the accident that hospitalized him. Still, he is unsure whether he feels confident enough to use similar dedicated bike lanes in the future. He feels his safety may have been placed at risk by using a bicycle lane that is situated between two lanes of vehicle traffic. Despite that such lanes reportedly meet the best practice requirements of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, some cyclists claim bike lanes like those on Old Pecos Trail foster a false and dangerous sense of protection from motorized traffic.

Whether you are traveling in an automobile, riding a bicycle, or merely walking on a sidewalk, an unexpected collision with an inattentive driver can happen anywhere. According to Section 66-3-702 of New Mexico’s Motor Vehicle Code, all bicyclists on the roadway should be afforded the same rights as cars. The injuries that a bicyclist may sustain as a result of a crash are often severe and disabling. If you were hurt by an inattentive driver while riding in your car or on your bicycle, you may be eligible to receive compensation for pain, suffering, lost wages, and other damages. If you tragically lost a family member or other loved one in a crash, you may also have a New Mexico wrongful death claim against the driver who caused the collision. You should contact an experienced Roswell bicycle accident attorney as soon as possible after any accident with an automobile.
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