November 19, 2012—Long Beach, California—A Seal Beach resident and two others were killed in a car accident near the Long Beach Airport, according to a report in The Orange County Register. The collision took place beneath the I-405 bridge on Redondo Avenue.
The driver, 36-year-old Mark Martineau, lost control on the rainy road and struck a portion of the bridge’s underpinning. He was declared dead along with Richard McAleavey, 54, at the scene of the accident. A third victim, Terrence Harris, 36, died a short time later at a local hospital.
Police believe the driver was speeding prior to the crash and are unsure if he was wearing a seat belt at the time of the accident. The passengers were not using safety restraints either. Police are asking for any witnesses to the accident to come forward.
My sincere condolences go out to the families of these three men.
Weather Conditions Play Small Part in Fatal Accidents
According to the Statewide Integrated Traffic Reporting System of the California Highway Patrol, rainy conditions prevailed in 122 of the 2,520 fatal accidents in California in 2010. This means that only five percent of fatal accidents might have been caused by raining conditions. 421 fatalities, or 18 percent, of fatal accidents occurred during cloudy weather; three fatalities, or less than one percent, occurred during snow; 22, or about one percent, occurred during fog; and only one fatality occurred during windy conditions. By far the majority of fatal accidents, 1,939 or 77 percent, occurred during perfectly clear conditions.
This is not to say that weather cannot contribute to car accidents. However, it does not seem to be the prevailing factors in most collisions.
What Other Factors Contributed To This Accident?
If the driver was indeed speeding as the police suspect, the cause of the accident becomes more understandable. At least 396 people died in 2010 in California accidents as a direct result of excessive speed. Speed combined with rain-slicked roads could certainly contribute to an accident.
It is unclear at this point whether alcohol was involved. While it is not out of the question, the police are usually quick to suspect alcohol involvement in an accident and have not, until now, made any mention of the possible use of alcohol by driver or passengers.
Liability Issues in This Accident
It is very likely that the families of the passengers who were killed have some claim to recover damages. Although the passengers may not have been wearing seat belts that does not completely dismiss the family’s claim for payments due to wrongful death. A Los Angeles personal injury attorney should examine the case and help the families collect these payments.