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October 2009 Archives

Highway 46/Blood Alley Fatal Accidents October 23 and October 28

On October 28 there was a deadly crash on Highway 46 also known as Blood Alley. This was the second fatal crash in a week's time. The crash on October 28 was east of Wasco near Wildwood Road. The crash occurred when a car was trying to pass others on a two-lane stretch of road. Passing on a two-lane road can be very dangerous if there is not proper visibility. In this instance a Toyota with 3 people was trying to pass a motor home. When the driver of the Toyota realized he did not have enough room to pass it was too late. The Toyota tried to get back into the right lane, but it instead hit a flat bed truck when it lost control. Officers claim that unsafe driving practices, rather than road conditions were to blame for the crash. The 19-year-old male driver of the Toyota and two female passengers were killed. The driver of the flat bad truck was treated for moderate injuries.Previously, on October 23 there was a similar accident also on Highway 46. This accident occurred east of Highway 33, near Blackwell's Corner. Once again a car was attempting to pass another on a two-lane stretch of road. A Chevrolet with a man, woman, and infant tried to pass several trucks. The Chevrolet struck a Toyota Prius with two people. The man in the Chevrolet and the infant passenger were killed along with a man and woman in the Prius.While both accidents are considered tragic, officers have stated that unsafe driving, not road conditions, was to blame for both accidents. If you or a friend or family member were involved in either of these accidents please contact us for a free consultation. /

October 30, Highway 198/Monterey County Tanker Accident

On October 30, 2009 a tanker crashed on Highway 198 in Monterey County. The crash resulted in the tanker spilling its load of liquid fertilizer. 4,200 gallons of calcium ammonium nitrate (CAN) were spilled resulting in the closure of Highway 198 between Coalinga and Highway 101. While CAN is not flammable it could be explosive when mixed with fuel. Officials were trying to contain the spill in order to reopen the road. If this accident affected you, please contact us at /.

Farmersville left turn accident near Highway 198

October 31, 2009--Trial is scheduled to begin on November 9, 2009 in the Tulare County Superior Court, located in Visalia, California in the case of Rogers v. Storms and Slover.  The subject accident involved a white Chevy Silverado which had turned south off of Highway 198 east of Visalia onto Farmersville blvd. near the town of Farmersville in Tulare County.  Attempting to make a left turn onto Dillon, the driver was rearended and pushed into the opposing traffic.  The law firm of Nelson & Rozier of Visalia is representing one of the parties in this

Highway 198 Accident-Tanker

October 30, 2009--A big rig tanker crashed and spilled its dangerous load on Highway 198 west of Coalinga on Friday morning.  The driver suffered only minor injuries.  The accident forced the closure of Highway 198 between Coalinga and Highway 101 in Monterey County while the spilled load of liquid fertilizer was cleaned up.  The chemical compound was described as calcium ammonium nitrate.

Bomicino dust storm accident in Kern County October 13, 2009

 I wanted to take this opportunity to speak directly to the families of the victims of the October 13, 2009 dust storm accident in Kern County near Bakersfield.  This blog attempts to collect and report news on recent events and, of course, serves to introduce our law firm to the community at large.  Our firm has been involved in the investigation and litigation of virtually all of the multi-vehicle dust and fog accidents in the central valley in the past 10 years.  In most cases the CHP will have taken aerial photos of the scene of the accident which can then be used to develop wall-sized maps to diagram each of the several impacts.  Through the analysis of paint transfers, witness testimony, measurements of metal deformation, black box speed data, and computer simulations the sequence of events can be reconstructed and liability established.In most cases the first or second vehicle in the chain of events bears great responsibility.  The first vehicle often has panicked and hard braked or spun out.  Perhaps the first vehicle simply slowed appropriately, then was rear ended through no fault of its own.  Within seconds a big rig comes through at an excess speed and clears the prior wreckage like bowling pins.  From that point forward chaos ensues.  Vehicle occupants exit their vehicles and run to safety, additional cars arrive on scene and even if a break in the sequence results, often a second pod or grouping of wreckage results.  Occasionally a claim will be made the driver with original fault has some responsibility for all subsequent impacts even those of a later pod further back in the roadway.In this particular case the financial resources of the various parties should be more than adequate for all claims.  Trucking companies typically carry insurance limits beginning at $1 million with excess and umbrella coverages of up to $10 to 50 million.  Even Mom and Pop operations must carry at least $750,000 in coverage.  With a total of 11 vehicles involved, there will be numerous conflicting claims and virtually every driver will be sued all in one big consolidated lawsuit in Kern County.  Typically suit must be filed within 2 years from the date of the accident, however claims against government entities must generally be submitted within 6 months.  This may include a city worker on the job while driving his personal vehicle or other unexpected situations.The appropriate claimants on a wrongful death claim are usually the spouse and children.  If none such survive then the claim reverts to the parents, and then to grandparents or siblings.  As to the Bomicino couple their respective parents each have a claim and can be represented by the same counsel or separately.  The two claims should be very similar although the loss of a grown child depends on the relationship value which can be enhanced or diminished by circumstances.  Relevant issues include frequency of visits, financial support received, extent of extended family, and the expected longevity of the relationship, ie whether any health or age issues were set to prematurely curtail the relationship.The attorney fees to be charged on cases such as these can vary greatly.  Common fee arrangements escalate as trial approaches.  A reasonable fee should top out at 33 to 35%.  Due to the severity of these claims our firm will consider a 28% fee arrangement if you are interested in retaining us under a contingent fee arrangement.  However, if you have already signed a fee agreement with another firm please try to stay with them as none of us wish to interfere with each others business.  Life is too short.  In that situation it would be appropriate to indicate that your independent research has revealed that a reduced fee may be appropriate.  Many firms will accommodate such a request.  Please give them a chance.If you live out of the area, please feel free to check us out with your family attorney and call if you would like to arrange a no obligation, no fee meeting.  I can come to you probably within a day of two and meet either at your home or at a neutral location such as a restaurant.  It may, however, assist you in feeling comfortable with our firm to meet at our offices to get a better feel for our practice.  Also, please check out our website to learn more about our qualifications.  I will meet with you personally, please give me a call.John Rozier   home number  559-627-5242,  office  559-713-0159.

Bay Bridge set for re-opening

October 30, 2009--The Oakland Bay Bridge is set for re-opening as soon as tomorrow morning.  It has been closed since a mishap on Tuesday when 5,000 pounds of steel came crashing down on the morning commute.  The failed part was from a Labor Day retrofit which is now being redesigned.  Commuters are being advised to seek alternate routes.  The bridge is 73 years old.

Pilots distracted by laptop

October 30, 2009--The two pilots who overshot their destination by several miles after being out of radio contact for 91 minutes claim they were distracted by their laptops.  A move is now afloat to ban electronic devices in cockpits.Similar bans of texting and cell phone usage for motor vehicle drivers are being enacted across the U.S. including in California.

Drunken bicyclists running into trouble

October 30, 2009--In a new twist on an old theme, now driving while peddling is the latest criminal fad.  CHP officers last week began to crackdown on bicyclists who ride while under the influence. 7 citations were issued for just such an offense in Sacramento recently.  Most states including California mandate enforcement of the same rules for bike riders as for car drivers.  The fine is $250 in California.

Second crash in a week on Highway 46

October 28, 2009--Three people were killed Wednesday afternoon in a crash on Highway 46.  It was the second crash in less than a week on a section of roadway called Blood Alley.  The latest accident was 3 miles west of Wasco near Wildwood Road in Kern County.On Friday, three adults and a child were killed in a crash near Blackwell's Corner about a mile east of Highway 33.In the latest accident a Toyota was mangled in a clash with a 1-ton flatbed truck.  Once again a vehicle was attempting to pass when it was perhaps unsafe to do so.  This matter is still under investigation.  Once again the CHP claimed that bad driving and not a bad road is to blame.If you would like this matter to be investigated further, please contact Attorney John Rozier of Visalia.

High Speed Rail bypasses Visalia

October 29, 2009--California's long-awaited high speed rail just got one step closer yesterday.  A public relations firm in Sacramento will earn $9 million to spread the gospel of commuter rail.  The Central Valley has long been chained to the congested Highway 99 corridor, and yet the question remains whether enough riders will use a high speed rail if one is ever built.  The latest route indicates bypassing Visalia in favor of Hanford although this really determines who gets the large parking lot such a rail station will entail.  Perhaps a 15 minute vehicle commute to Hanford will work out just fine.

Bay Bridge Damage

October 29, 2009--5,000 pounds of metal dropped from the Bay Bridge and rained down on commuters between Oakland and San Francisco.  Luckily only one motorist was slightly injured.  The efforts to replace the bridge continue with a budget that has ballooned from $1.3 billion to $7.2 billion with a 2013 opening.Some have not felt safe on the bridge since the earthquake of 1989 during the World Series.  The recent problem stems from Labor Day repairs which apparently did not completely hold.

Vehicle hits forklift driver

March 25, 2008--Last year there was a fatal accident in Kings County involving a motor vehicle and a forklift driver.  At about 1am 2 workers for the Island District Honey Company were loading beehives in the dark on a county road.  Both lanes of travel were blocked.  The second worker was the lookout and had taken a break to relieve himself in the field when the car approached.  Although the flatbed truck they were loading had it's emergency blinkers on, the driver could not see them until it was too late.  The forklift driver was killed immediately.  The driver of the vehicle, who was on a taco run, sustained fractures to both legs in addition to other serious injuries.  She was airlifted for emergency medical care.Through discovery we were able to establish that 5 or 6 vehicle code violations had occurred including the failure to use cones or even an effective lookout before completely blocking traffic.  The owner of the company testified that they had done nothing wrong and that the same practices were still continuing.  This contributed greatly to the value of the case.The moral of the story is to, of course, slow down when approaching any type of activity in the dark and to use great caution when requiring others to stop as you block traffic.  It is not enough to simply have your lights on to warn oncoming traffic that both lanes are blocked.  If you have been involved in a similar accident, please call the law firm of Nelson & Rozier for a free consultation.

Major dust storm closes roads

October 27, 2009--A major dust storm yesterday closed roads, caused accidents and resulted in warnings.  Kings County saw gusts of up to 43 mph while wind speed in Fresno hit 27 mph.  After a big rig collision Tuesday morning the CHP closed Avenue 71/2 at road 9 to Avenue 7 in Madera County.  The driver of the truck and at least two others were reported injured.In Kings County CHP officers called for the help of the Lemoore Naval Air Station for the use of water trucks to reduce the dust.  Near Buttonwillow in Kern County winds forced the closure of State Route 119 from Interstate 5 to State Route 43.  In Fresno police reported malfunctioning traffic signals at several locations throughout the city. After the multi-fatality collision in Kern county 2 weeks ago which killed at least 3 and involved 11 vehicles in a massive dust storm, officials are using great caution.

Pit bulls attack goats in Riverdale

Dozens of goats were attacked by 3 pit bulls on a farm near Riverdale, California.  The goats were then destroyed due to the injuries inflicted.  The value of the loss was placed at $68,000.  The attacked goats were on a farm located on the 21000 block of South Chateau Fresno Avenue.According to the Fresno County Sheriff's Department this was one of the worst attacks they have seen.  The dogs then turned on a farm worker and pinned him on a tractor for a time.  He was able to lasso one of the dogs and followed the other two back to their home.

Dogs kill 4-H animals

August 19, 2009--The Selma Enterprise reported the death of 4 sheep and one goat at the Kingsburg 4-H Club farm on Carruthers Avenue.  Several other animals were attacked and injured.  The attacking dogs were described as a tan chow and a large black dog.

6 year old mauled by pit bulls

January 2005--The mauling of six year old Tyler Babcock in January 2005 led to the enactment of Tyler's law allowing stricter enforcement of animal control statutes.  The child was attacked by 3 dogs, a chow and 2 pit bull mixes.  The address where the dogs lived was cited for an earlier dog bite in October of 2003.

California dog bite statute

California's dog bite statute is found at Civil Code section 3342 and states that the owner of a dog who injures someone is liable if the injury took place while the person was lawfully in a public or private place.  This statute protects meter readers, utility workers, invited guests and anyone else who has valid business to be present on the premises.  Liability results no matter how carefully the dog was guarded or restrained.For more information on this law, contact Attorney John Rozier  /

Pack of pit bulls attacks mail carrier July 14, 2008-- In my research of pit bull attacks I came across a notice of an attack on a mail carrier in July of last year.  The dogs began by intimidating a 77 year old woman.  The same dogs had previously killed a neighbor's puppy.  Tyler's law now allows the police to crack down more severely on dogs with known dangerous habits.  Two of the dogs were then put down by the Fresno SPCA.

Selecting an attorney

Perhaps I have some readers out there who are looking for legal counsel.  It is important to consider using an attorney in your own community and one who can meet with you personally.  On occasion law firms are far away as 200 or 300 miles send a paralegal to sign up a client and then charge more for this remote control arrangement.  Any contingent attorney fee higher than one-third should be reviewed with caution and the claims of minors should be handled at 25%.I would appreciate your comments on this topic.[email protected]

Merced woman strikes cow

0ctober 22, 2009--A Madera woman struck a cow with her vehicle while coming home from Table Mountain.  The cow was owned by Urruita Ranch.  The collision caused the airbag to ignite and caused personal injuries.  The CHP report of this incident is still pending.  Personal injury website    

Three car pileup in Kerman

October 23, 2009--Last Friday a three car pileup near Kerman in Fresno County killed one man and injured several others.  A Ford Mustang going westbound on Central Avenue veered into oncoming traffic.  It collided with a van driven by a Reedley man and then hit a third vehicle from Los Angeles.  The injured parties were taken to Fresno Regional Community Medical Center.

Tollhouse single car accident

October 24, 2009--Savanha Rhoades of Fresno was killed last Saturday in a single car accident.  At the intersection of Pittman Hill and Tollhouse Road her tires caught the side of the road causing her to swerve and overcorrect.  She was taken to Clovis Community Hospital where she died.

Blood Alley Victims Identified

October 23, 2009--The victims of Friday's fatal accident on Highway 46 near Lost Hills have been identified.  The occupants of the westbound Prius were Shirlene Ann Soto, age 62 and Walter Earl Elliott, age 84, both of Los Osos.  Those who died in the Chevy Cavalier were 25 year old Jose Alberto Sanchez and 1 year old Nathaniel Sanchez.  The female occupant of their vehicle was air lifted to Kern Medical Center in Bakersfield.

Head-on collision investigation

October 23, 2009--The recent head-on collision on Highway 46 near Lost Hills in Kern County raises more questions than answers.  Unfortunately the CHP multi-disciplinary accident investigation team (MAIT) report will not likely be completed for several months.  Issues include the roadway design, the speeds of all involved vehicles, including the big rigs that were being passed, lighting and dust or fog issues  and obstructions to visibility or line of sight.  Under normal circumstances, assuming drugs or alcohol were not involved, the combination of the negligence two or more parties may contribute to a collision.

Highway 46 Crash near Lost Hills

October 23, 2009--Another Highway 46 fatality occurred Friday which took the lives of a baby and 3 adults.  A blue Chevy Cavalier was passing 2 big rigs when it ran out of room and swerved to the shoulder just as a Toyota Prius also headed for the dirt.  A major head-on collision resulted.10 years ago a Toyota Lexus hydroplaned in the rain on Highway 46 and veered into oncoming traffic.  6 deaths and other major injuries resulted.  The driver of the Lexus had been heading to the family cabin in Cambria and that particular stretch of roadway was slanted such that water pooled and thereby contributed to the accident.  The law firm of Nelson & Rozier was able to establish that Cal Trans knew of the roadway defect and cause them to contribute to settlement.  This came only after extensive records were produced by Cal Trans at their regional construction offices in San Luis Obispo.  If you would like us to investigate this accident please call Attorney John Rozier at 559-713-0159.

Major Auto Accident on Chinowth in Visalia

December 27, 2008--The law firm of Nelson & Rozier has filed suit for a mother and daughter seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident which occurred just after Christmas last year.  An air conditioning repair truck pulled out of the Chinowth Git-n-go parking lot directly into the path of their vehicle.  Bushes blocking the driver's view of oncoming traffic may have contributed to this accident which happened in Visalia.  Suit was filed in Tulare County.

Rollover in Fresno

October 6, 2009--2 people were injured in a rollover accident at Peach and North in Fresno back on October 6th.  The driver of a blue SUV failed to see an approaching Ford Explorer due to the angle of the sun.  The full cause of the accident is still under investigation.

Stolen vehicle in Kern County strikes Tree

October 21, 2009--Last Wednesday an apparently stolen vehicle struck a tree after the driver made an unsafe turning movement.  California law provides that if personal injuries are caused during the commission of a felony, even if another party were at fault, for the accident damages would be limited to only out of pocket bills.  This Kern county accident is still under investigation and certainly at this point only the driver seems responsible.  Please slow down out there.

Pit Bull Mauls Toddler in Delhi

October 23, 2009--Dog bites from a pit bull attack killed a 17 month old in the Merced County town of Delhi on Friday morning.  The babysitter called 911 and then a made a mad dash to the hospital. Issues to be investigated concern whether the dog had been involved in prior attacks, how the dog gained access to the child and who owns the pit bull.  If you would like these issues more fully investigated, please consider contacting the law firm of Nelson & Rozier.

Fresno Biker Killed

October 21, 2009--David Valdez of Fresno was killed when he collidied with a pickup west of Fresno on Shaw avenue last Wednesday.  He was 26 years of age and riding without a helmet or lights, according to early reports.  The motorcycle was an off-road Yamaha.  The 6:30 am accident occurred when the truck turned into the path of the cycle which may have been traveling at a high rate of speed. Yet to be investigated are the exact speeds of each vehicle, whether lights were required at that time of day, other lighting available, the use of turn signals, and related issues.  If you have further information about this accident please call Attorney John Rozier at 559-713-0159 or [email protected]    

Fresno Train Fatality

October 23, 2009--last week's fatal train crash in Fresno is still under investigation.  One man was struck by the train and killed.  Little additional information has yet been revealed.

Tule Fog Season in Fresno County

October 23, 2009--Tule fog season is upon us.  With an expected above average year for rainfall, the southern San Joaquin Valley may be socked in more often this year than in the recent past.  One particular stretch of Highway 99 just south of Kingsburg in Fresno County is particularly dangerous.  The roadway elevation dips near the Kings river, just after a bend in the road.  This has been the scene of several multiple vehicle accidents over the years.  Tips for safety include avoiding unnecessary trips, driving with the windows rolled down to hear collisions up ahead, and slowing down.  However, at all costs avoid panic braking.  Good luck out there and drive safely.

Cellphone Causes Accident

A local Visalia family lost their 9 year old son when a northbound vehicle on Akers Road ran the red light at Hurley while the driver was talking on his cellphone.  The boy was ejected and the vehicle rolled over onto him killing him instantly.  The extended family has now become advocates for strong enforcement of the new laws which ban use of a phone while driving.  A large financial settlement resulted including the establishment of a scholarship fund in their son' name with the local school district.  Attorney John Rozier assisted the family with this difficult process. Please comment if you are aware of other accidents caused by cellphones.  

Italian Farmer Forced off Road by Flatbed

A Tulare County farmer was forced off the road and into a telephone pole by a farm worker driving a flatbed truck.  Shoulder surgery resulted.  Suit has been filed in the Tulare County Superior Court by the law firm of Nelson and Rozier.  Negotiations are ongoing and a settlement should be reached soon.  Before counsel was hired, he was blamed for the accident and little was offered.  It looks like tutto bene.

Bicycle Accident on Mineral King

A legally blind UPS worker was struck by a motorist while riding his bicycle on Mineral King at the intersection of Ben Maddox in Visalia.  Thus far there have been 3 surgeries to his wrist and treatment continues.  Suit was filed by the law firm of Nelson & Rozier on April 16, 2009.  The opposing driver was on the job at the time of the accident.  This action will proceed in the Tulare County Superior Court.  Trial is set for April 10, 2010.

Tulare Office Fire

A lawsuit was filed recently concerning the California Office Liquidators fire in Tulare on July 10, 2006.  Up to 11 different property owners have now filed claims and will negotiate to divide the available insurance proceeds.  The owner of the main structure is represented in this action by the law firm of Nelson & Rozier.

Settlement in Stop Sign case

Settlements totaling $652,000 were negotiated by the Visalia Law Firm of Nelson & Rozier for Woodlake claimants resulting from a motor vehicle accident which took place at the intersection of Avenue 336 and Road 168 in Tulare County.  The stop sign was partially obscured by branches from an orange tree.  Before settlement could be reached, another accident happened at the same location killing 3 more people.  Just one week prior photos of the returning overgrowth had been forwarded to the proper parties.

Bakersfield Dust Storm Accident

The families affected by the Bakersfield area dust storm accident of October 13 continue to wait for completion of the CHP MAIT report.  It may be several months before the report is completed although a list of parties involved or the face sheet of the report should be available soon.

Cal Trans Defect Causes Accident on Highway 41

Suit was filed in the Fresno County Superior Court on September 23, 2009 alleging a roadway defect on Highway 41 at the intersection of Floral Avenue near the town of Selma.  Plaintiffs lost their only child in this tragic accident.  The accident occurred on February 1, 2009 when a car driven by Ms. Valdovinos attempted to cross the roadway.  It is alleged that Cal-Trans negligently designed the roadway by forcing a crossing to take place without the benefit of a second stop sign.  The roadway was too wide to cross all at once.  In addition, signage was of the improper size such that it blocked the driver's view and finally the light pole should have broken away and did not.  According to Attorney John Rozier, this matter will proceed to trial in about one year.  The defendant's are currently being served with the suit.

Paso Robles Couple die in fiery accident

The 11 vehicle pileup accident near Bakersfield which took place on October 13th took the lives of Nicole and Timothy Bomicino, both age 31.  They were stopped behind one big rig and were rear-ended by another.  In all 6 vehicles caught fire.Due to the number of vehicles involved, it is important to secure good legal representation right away.  Please consider the law firm of Nelson & Rozier /

Sanger stop sign accident

A government tort claim was filed recently concerning a motor vehicle accident at the intersection of California and Quality near Sanger.  The Law Firm of Nelson & Rozier filed the claim against the County of Fresno on 9/22/09 alleging a blocked or obstructed stop sign.  Suit will soon follow against the county and the local property owner, Saroyan.  Claimants include Ms. Martinez, her husband Ruben Martinez-Duran and their children. If you have any information about this accident please call Attorney John Rozier 559-713-0159.

Bakersfield Accident October 13

The ABC website has photos of the wreckage from last Tuesday's dust storm accident which claimed 3 lives.  HAZMAT teams were called out and several injured parties were taken to local hospitals.  Investigators and expert witnesses will now comb the scene of the accident for physical evidence, skid marks, paint transfers, eye witnesses, etc. to determine the sequence of events and probable liability.It is important to begin these processes if you or a family member have been affected by this tragedy.  If you would like a free consultation please call the Central Valley law firm of Nelson & Rozier at 1-559-713-0159 or view our webpage at /

I-5 Dust Storm Accident, October 13

Last Tuesday there was another multi-vehicle dust storm accident on Interstate 5. It occurred in Kern County near Bakersfield on October 13, 2009 during rush-hour traffic. The initial report indicates that a total of 11 vehicles were involved, 6 of which caught fire. At least 3 deaths resulted with several others being transported to local hospitals. The nearest trauma center, Kern Medical Center, is located in Bakersfield. Apparently strong winds had kicked up dust thereby reducing visibility. It is yet to be determined which of the vehicles may have been traveling at unsafe speeds for these conditions. The CHP will assign a Multidisciplinary Accident Investigation Team (MAIT) to this incident. MAIT team reports for accidents of this complexity may take 6-9 months or even up to a year for completion. Issues to be investigated include the sequence of each impact, data available from the vehicle black boxes (event data recorders), whether any big rig driver was operating outside of his permissible duty hours, etc.  10 or 15 years ago a major dust storm on I-5 involved over 100 vehicles and was caused in part by drought-like conditions and farming practices which threw up dust that soon overwhelmed the drivers.  The lawyers of the law firm of Nelson & Rozier were involved in the last I-5 dust storm litigation which became very complex.  Their offices are located in Visalia which is about 70 or 80 miles from the scene of this accident.  Please contact Attorney John Rozier if you would like us to get busy on this case.  [email protected]  Please also review our website at /.

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