A Los Altos woman was killed early last month when her bicycle was hit by a 26-wheel big-rig truck near Portola Valley, on Alpine Road. Both Lauren Ward and the semi were approaching Interstate 280, traveling west on Alpine Road when the collision occurred. The family of the victim is suing Castroville-based demolition company, Randazzo Enterprises, and the truck driver, Gabriel Manzur Vera.

The lawsuit states that "Suddenly and without warning, defendant Gabriel Manzur Vera ... negligently drove the aforementioned tractor and trailer rig directly into the path of Lauren Ward's bicycle thereby violating Lauren Ward's right-of-way, causing Lauren Ward's death at approximately 3:45 p.m." Vera has been involved in 3 fatal accidents while on the job, but has never been found at fault. However, Vera and Randazzo Enterprises paid $1.5 million to settle a separate wrongful death suit stemming from a 2007 collision that involved the Vera and a bicyclist in Santa Cruz.

The California Highway Patrol released a report that concluded trucker Vera was not at fault in the fatal crash with cyclist Lauren Ward. The report claims that the collision occurred when Ward "unsafely turned" into the path of the truck as she rode to its "immediate left" in the same right lane of the road. The report does not explain why Ward would turn into the path of the truck, and there are no witnesses to support the CHP Report's conclusion.

In announcing the lawsuit, the lawyer representing the Ward family stated "While the CHP was conducting its investigation, we brought in scientists and other experts to evaluate the circumstances surrounding Lauren's tragic death, and the team disagrees with the CHP's conclusion as to the cause. As a result, (her husband) Bob and the Ward children would like a jury to hear the evidence and decide."

In the fatal collision in 2007, Vera's 26-wheeler collided with John Myslin at the intersection of Mission and Bay streets in Santa Cruz. The police investigation concluded that Vera had been making a right turn when Myslin tried to pass him on the right and cleared Vera of wrongdoing. Myslin's parents disagreed and sued. They later settled with Vera and Randazzo Enterprises for the sum of $1.5 million.

Wrongful death caused by the collision of bicycle with any motor vehicle is a tragedy.  Furthermore, all states guarantee the right to compensation for families and children of those who are killed in a wrongful death accident. If you or a loved one has been involved in such an accident, do not take chances with your family’s future. You need to immediately contact an bicycle collision lawyer.  The attorneys at O’Connor, Runckel & O’Malley have the skill and experience to ensure that individuals and their families receive the financial support necessary to help them move forward with their lives.

(Source: Mercury News, 2 )

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