A three-car collision on Vasco Road that occurred Monday afternoon resulted in severe injuries to two drivers who had to be airlifted to a local trauma center for their injuries.
The 3:09 p.m. crash happened about one mile south of where Walnut Boulevard intersects with Vasco Road in Brentwood.
The California Highway Patrol (CHP) is continuing its investigation, but at this point there are very few details about the cause of the accident. What is apparent is that a black Toyota Corolla broadsided a silver Audi A4. A helicopter flew the Audi’s driver to John Muir Medical Center’s trauma center in Walnut Creek with “massive trauma” as described by Craig Auzenne, Battalion Chief of East Contra Costa Fire Protection District (ECCFPD).
The Toyota’s driver was up and walking right after the collision, but soon after he began suffering from his injuries. People assisting at the scene immediately after the accident loaded him into a passerby’s truck bed. When paramedics and firefighters arrived they initially treated him there before a CHP helicopter transported him to John Muir Medical Center. He suffered a broken wrist, chest pains, shortness of breath and it’s possible he had other injuries.
The third vehicle involved in the accident was a gray Nissan Versa and paramedics at the scene treated and released that driver, whose car had front-end damage. Authorities are unsure as to what caused that damage.
The only occupants of the three vehicles involved were the drivers.
After the accident, Vasco Road remained closed between Camino Diablo and Walnut Boulevard while the victims were being rescued and treated and the two helicopters occupied the roadway.
Aside from the helicopters, Engines 52 and 59 of ECCFPD rushed to the scene, along with two AMR rescue ambulances, two battalion chiefs and a number of CHP officers. It took nearly 90 minutes to work the accident scene.
If you or a family member has been the victim of a traffic accident involving negligence and would like the advice of a reputable Bay Area attorney specializing in car accidents, please contact us. We can answer all your questions, advise you of your legal rights and how best to protect them. O’Connor, Runckel & O’Malley has 50 years of experience in personal injury litigation and trials. We have the kind of expertise and track record of success that can help you prevail in this situation.
Published on behalf of O'Connor, Runckel & O'Malley LLP
CASTRO VALLEY, CA – Interstate 580 finally opened after being blocked for almost 10 hours last Thursday due to two big rig collisions that killed one of the drivers. All westbound lanes near Castro Valley in Alameda County were finally reopened once authorities finished their accident investigation and cleanup of the scene.
The collision occurred near Eden Canyon Road and was called into the California Highway Patrol at 4:10 a.m. First, a black sedan and big rig collided, which left the big rig stopped in the middle of the highway. A second big rig then came along and struck the first big rig, according to Tyler Hahn, the CHP Officer on the scene.
Hahn said that the driver of the second big rig was tragically killed in the crash. The Alameda County coroner has identified the driver as Maclovio Lopez, 62 of Roseville, CA.
Highway personnel working the scene of the accident had to unload the entire haul of one of the big rigs, and this contributed to the lengthy traffic delays. Crews taking part in the cleanup at Eden Canyon Road on the westbound lanes of Interstate 580 consisted of Caltrans workers, Alameda County Fire plus a HAZMAT team.
At 4:24 a.m., shortly after the accident was first reported, a sig-alert was sent out since all lanes going westbound on Interstate 580 were blocked. It wasn’t until about 2:00 p.m., after the scene had finally been cleaned up, that the sig-alert could be cancelled.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of trucking or big rig accident and would like to speak with a truck accident attorney, please contact us. We are here to answer your questions and discuss how to protect your legal rights.
If your loved one has been physically, medically, psychologically, or financially abused, neglected, or exploited, by a nursing home, assisted care facility or in-home care provider, call O’Connor, Runckel & O’Malley, a personal injury law firm, today for a free initial consultation and case evaluation with an elder abuse/nursing home negligence attorney.
Over 25% of serious abuse cases occurring in nursing homes are not being reported to law enforcement. The Office of Inspector General, which is part of the U. S. Department of Health & Human Services, issued an alert about this last Monday.
Despite state and federal law demanding that serious nursing home incidents involving abuse must be reported to the police, many cases never were.
Governmental investigators are doing an extensive ongoing review of reports of abuse and neglect occurring in nursing homes but are issuing the alert now because immediate action is required due to the seriousness of the cases they’ve found so far.
The abuse cases are so severe that the victims were sent to the emergency room. The alert cited an example of a woman who was terribly bruised from a sexual assault that occurred in her nursing home room, yet this was not reported to law enforcement.
Federal law requires that such an assault be reported to law enforcement within two hours of the crime being discovered. But that wasn’t done according to Curtis Roy, the Department of Health & Human Services’ assistant regional inspector general.
“Instead, they cleaned the victim up and this actually destroyed crucial evidence that the police could have relied on while investigating this crime.”
The nursing home did tell the family that their loved one had been sexually assaulted the previous day. The family then went to police to file a report on the crime. Even after the crime had been reported, the nursing home attempted to conceal the crime, according to Roy.
“They actually contacted the police department trying to persuade them that no investigation was necessary and attempted to dissuade them from coming out to the nursing home to look into the incident,” said Roy.
Examining records pulled from 2015 and 2016, Roy and his investigative team discovered 134 incidents of residents in nursing homes being abused so severely that they needed to go to the emergency room. The overwhelming majority of these incidents were sexual assaults.
“There is absolutely no excuse for allowing someone to suffer this degree of torture, never ever,” says Roy.
The abuse cases occurred in 33 different states, with Illinois having the most incidents, which numbered 17. Investigators found that in 72% of the cases law enforcement did get a report within the required two hours. But, that leaves 28% unreported. Investigators made the decision to report every single one of these 134 cases of abuse to the police. Roy said, “We were so worried that we would rather over-report than risk the chance that a single case would remain unreported.”
The Inspector General’s alert says nursing home regulators, who are the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), must do a better job of tracking these abuse cases. They said that CMS should do exactly what Curtis Roy’s team did: look at Medicare claims submitted by residents of nursing homes and cross-reference their emergency room claims. This way the investigators could see whether a Medicare recipient had filed a claim for emergency room care during the same time they were filing a claim for nursing home care. If so, the investigators could look at the emergency room diagnosis and determine whether the patient appeared to be a crime victim, as would be the case if the diagnosis indicated a physical and/or sexual assault.
The alert emphasized that in 2011 federal law regarding the issue of nursing home abuse was strengthened. The law now requires that anyone who even suspects that a resident in a nursing home had been abused to the extent that it caused them to suffer serious bodily injury are required to report these suspicions to the police within no more than two hours. If they suspect a nursing home resident has been abused, but not to the extent of serious bodily injury, they have up to 24 hours to report the abuse to law enforcement.
Failure to make the required abuse report to law enforcement within the specified time period can result in fines being imposed of up to $300,000.
However, CMS never received specific instructions from the Secretary of Health & Human Services to exercise the authority to carry out the penalties and collect the fines. According to the alert, CMS only this year started to seek the authority to enforce the law. There was no one from CMS who would agree to be interviewed for this article.
Obviously, the 134 incidents of severe nursing home abuse discovered by the investigators represent just a tiny percentage of the 1.4 million currently residing in the country’s nursing homes. But, according to Curtis Roy, these cases are likely to be just the tip of the ice burg, since his investigators were only able to pinpoint abuse victims who were sent for emergency room care. “This is the absolute worst possible thing,” he said. “I don’t believe for a second that anyone could possibly think this is anywhere near being acceptable.”
“We must do a whole lot better,” says Roy, at “ridding our healthcare system of any form of abuse, no matter how minor.”
One fact that investigators were not able to find out is whether or not any of the nursing homes where incidents of abuse occurred were ever fined or penalized in some way for ignoring the law in not reporting these incidents and in some cases, trying to cover up the evidence. That information will likely be covered in the Inspector General’s complete report, which should be released next year.
Most of the highway deaths involving large truck collisions are of occupants in passenger vehicles. Occupants of smaller vehicles are extremely vulnerable because they must share the road with large trucks. Many trucks weigh 25-30 times as much as an average car and are much taller. The problem is that a smaller car following behind a huge truck risks an underride collision with the truck.
Factors in Big Rig Collisions
The length of time it takes a fully loaded tractor-trailer to brake is one factor contributing to big rig collisions. It can take them 20% - 40% farther that it takes an average car to stop, and even farther if the road is wet or the brakes haven’t been properly maintained.
Another factor is truck driver fatigue. Federal law stipulates that drivers operating large trucks can drive no more than 11 hours in one stretch and no more than 77 hours in a week’s time. However, surveys suggest that many drivers ignore the law and drive for longer periods of time, which causes them to become overly fatigued.
Where Collisions With Trucks Happen
A study on fatal collisions in 2015 that involved large trucks provided the following statistics:
53% occurred on major roads rather than on freeways and/or interstate highways
30% occurred on freeways and/or interstate highways
14% occurred on smaller, less traveled roads
Large Truck Collisions Compared to Passenger Vehicle Collisions
In 2015, over half of occupant deaths in large trucks occurred in collisions that caused their truck to roll over. This percentage was similar to the occupant fatalities in SUVs and pickup trucks that rolled over in crashes. Interestingly, those percentages were much higher than the 23% of occupant deaths that occurred in car rollovers.
Drunk Driving Has Subsided
Drivers of large trucks killed in fatal accidents almost never are found to have high levels of blood alcohol concentrations (BACs). Truck drivers are under very strict regulations by the government regarding drinking and driving. Only 3% of truck drivers killed in fatal collisions in 2015 showed a BAC level at or above 0.08%. That is far lower than the figure in 1982, which was 51%, so it is apparent that the trucking regulations in place now for drinking and driving are having the desired effect.
At O’Connor, Runckel & O’Malley we have over 50 years of experience. We have the expertise and a proven track record of success in personal injury law. If you or a loved one has been the victim of trucking or big rig accident and would like to speak with an attorney, please contact us. We are here to answer your questions and discuss how to protect your legal rights.
O’Connor, Runckel and O’Malley LLP would like to announce our 2017 scholarship recipient, Jordyn Sequeira. Jordyn graduated Cum Laude from Arizona State University and is currently in her second year of law school at University of San Francisco. Throughout her first year of law school Jordyn exhibited a strong commitment to social justice, consistently volunteering through the USF’s ProBono Programs. Jordyn worked various clean slate clinics, where she provided free legal assistance to people who suffer from the collateral consequences of having criminal records. Over the summer she served as a legal intern in the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office. After she graduates she plans to continue to dedicate her time to battling social injustices.
We wish Jordyn continued success at UCSF School of Law.
SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA – After an investigation by the California Department of Justice the owner of Manse on Marsh along with a former employee have been arrested in connection with the wrongful death of one of the independent living facility’s residents.
The Attorney General’s Office of the State of California filed charges on July 19, 2017 against Christopher Skiff, 54, and Gary Potts, 63, for involuntary manslaughter and dependent adult and elderly abuse. Investigators maintain that these men knowingly and willfully put the life of Mauricio Cardenas, 65, in danger, which led to his 2014 death, as alleged in the complaint.
“The inquiry was brought about because Cardenas’ death was so odd,” according to a report given in 2015 by Skiff to CalCoastNews. “Law enforcement and our own District Attorney absolved us both of any criminal wrong doing.”
On December 21, 2014, Cardenas was trying to cross Los Osos Valley Rd. in Los Osos when a 2010 Dodge Challenger hit and ultimately killed him. Ricardo Serafin, 26, was driving the Challenger at the time. Serafin was determined not to be at fault by the California Highway Patrol (CHP) because the area where Cardenas was trying to cross was in complete darkness.
The Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud & Elder Abuse got a letter on December 30, 2014 saying, “Cardenas should have never been admitted to the MMALF independent living facility since he had been diagnosed with dementia and MMALF does not have a dementia waiver and therefore is not allowed to house residents with dementia.”
The letter goes on to allege that, as a result, Cardenas never received the proper oversight and care that his condition required.
“The consensus is that if Cardenas had been placed in an appropriate living environment with the proper security precautions his safety could have been looked after and he would not have lost his life,” according to the letter.
According to CalCoastNews, on March 24, 2015, investigators with California’s Medicare Fraud & Elder Abuse Division raided Manse on March seizing computers and files. Kristin Ford, DOJ Press Secretary, said that a search warrant had been issued, which justified the raid.
“We will confirm that on March 24, 2015 we served a legal search warrant on the facilities of Manse on March, located in San Luis Obispo,” Ford said in replying to a 2015 email inquiry. “Because this involves an active criminal investigation, we cannot provide any additional information or make any official comments at the present time.”
Manse on March is an independent assisted living community providing seniors with some level of care along with certain amenities. There are 87 apartments situated on the property in three separate buildings.
One resident’s family member reported that once investigators started searching through the facility, Skiff met with residents and staff in a group setting and advised them to consult with an attorney before they spoke to any of the investigators.
Potts was booked into the Smith County Jail in Texas where he remains held without bail. Skiff was booked into the San Luis Obispo County Jail and released the same day.
The most vulnerable adults among us are often our elderly. Often elderly adults become victims of abuse in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. An estimated 1 to 2 million elderly adults are injured, exploited or mistreated every year. Problems of malnutrition, bedsores, neglect, infections, falls, fractures, dehydration, failure to medicate & monitor, financial abuse, as well as physical, verbal, and sexual abuse exists in many nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
At O’Connor, Runckel & O’Malley, we are committed to helping the elderly and their families through these difficult situations. Every person deserves to be safe from harm by those who care for them. If your loved one has suffered abuse in a nursing home, assisted living facility or from in-home care provider, the personal injury attorneys at O’Connor, Runckel & O’Malley can help you obtain justice for your loved one. Contact us today for a free case evaluation with an experienced elder abuse attorney.
OAKLAND, CA – A surveillance camera picked up the horrific sight of a car slamming into three innocent children in Oakland crossing the street using the crosswalk. Neighborhood residents are demanding changes.
The footage clearly shows the collision sending two teenaged girls into the air, while the little boy that was crossing with them is pulled under the car and dragged.
The accident occurred on Wednesday, July 5, 2017 at about 9:30 p.m. in the intersection of Brookdale and Fruitvale Avenues in Oakland.
Residents in the neighborhood report similar accidents happening in the past. They are calling for the city to install blinking lights in the crosswalk.
It is painful to watch the video of the accident. It shows the car being driven by a young person hitting the children as they crossed the street in the crosswalk, causing the girls to fly into the air and the toddler being pinned under the car.
The accident occurred right outside Mark Legaspi’s Filipino restaurant, so his surveillance cameras videotaped the whole tragic event.
“Everyone was scrambling to help,” relayed Legaspi. “The baby was being dragged along under the car. Let’s save that baby!”
It was a miracle that all three kids survived this horrific accident.
One of the teenaged girls and her little brother, who were injured in the accident, are cousins of the other girl that was hit by the car.
They were walking home the night of the accident. They were careful, looking both ways before entering the crosswalk and just assumed the car would come to a stop and let them cross.
Just before being hit, the girls could be seen bracing for impact.
Legaspi reported that this is the third time pedestrians have been hit in the crosswalk in the last three years. This is not counting the number of car crashes that have occurred in the same intersection.
“Surprisingly, no one has been killed,” Legaspi said. “However, I’ve witnessed three pets getting run over and killed right here.”
He blames distracted drivers speeding through the interaction for the accidents. Legaspi did contact Noel Gallo, the City Councilman for this area, requesting something be done to make the crosswalk easier for drivers to see.
“They probably have to send people out to study the road because we have had so many accidents here,” said Gallo. “But this time I think it’s a no-brainer that something has to be done.”
Gallo said he heard that these three victims have already been released from the hospital and are recovering at home.
Witnesses described the driver as stopping at the scene of the accident and being remorseful. They said he carried a passport, so was obviously from another country, and admitted that he had not been issued a California driver’s license.
It has not yet been reported whether the driver did have a valid driver’s license or if the police placed him under arrest.
At O’Connor, Runckel & O’Malley we have 50 years of litigation and trial experience. We have the expertise and a proven track record of success in personal injury law. If you or a loved one has been the victim of motor vehicle negligence and would like to speak with a Bay Area auto accident attorney, please contact us. We are here to answer your questions and discuss how to protect your legal rights.
BRENTWOOD, CA – A woman, 72 and a 1-year-old were among 9 people transported to area hospitals when a stolen car going the wrong way plowed head-on into a van on Highway 4 in Brentwood, according to the California Highway Patrol.
The CHP said that the crash was called in just after 8 p.m. Saturday night. The accident occurred on Highway 4 right at Sand Creek Rd. in Brentwood.
Earlier that day, Concord police got a report that a gold 1994 Honda Accord was stolen. This was the car that was going the wrong way, speeding east on the westbound lanes of Hwy. 4, the CHP said in a statement issued on Sunday.
The wrong-way car sped past a number of other vehicles before it crashed into a 2015 Honda Odyssey van driving westbound at Sand Creek Rd. carrying seven people, the CHP said.
CHP officials said that 9 people were taken to a local hospital. All occupants of the van were from San Francisco and transported to John Muir Medical Center, which is in Walnut Creek.
A 61-year-old woman suffered major injuries, but has since been stabilized. A 30-year-old driver was moderately injured. Four passengers sustained minor injuries: two girls, ages 10 and 2 and two women, ages 72 and 34. A baby just 1 year old appeared to have no injuries, but was transported to the hospital anyway as a precaution.
The Accord was carrying a 22-year-old passenger who suffered major injuries and was transported to Dublin’s Eden Hospital and is now in stable condition, according to the CHP.
The 24-year-old wrong-way driver was identified as Rafael Duarte of Oakley. He was treated at John Muir Medical Center for minor injuries before being arrested for alleged felony drunk driving, operating a vehicle without a license, possession of a stolen car, driving with no insurance, and going the wrong way on a highway, causing injury. He was booked at Martinez Detention Facility upon discharge from the hospital.
Each year in the United States, wrong-way driver crashes kill 300 to 400 people on average. This represents approximately 1% of the total annual number of traffic related fatalities. It may be a tiny percentage overall, but since crashes involving wrong-way drivers are usually head-on or high-speed sideswipes coming from the opposite direction, they tend to be a lot more serious than other types of collisions.
Wrong Way collisions are inevitable when someone enters a freeway or controlled-access highway on an exit ramp going the wrong way, or when drivers make maneuvers that cause them to drive the wrong way or in the wrong direction. Collisions involving wrong-way drivers are definitely a problem on our highways. They may be infrequent, but the consequences for the people involved in these crashes are far more serious than those resulting from other types of traffic accidents.
If you or a family member has been in a traffic accident involving motor vehicle negligence and want to speak to a reputable Bay Area attorney who specializes in auto accidents, please contact O’Connor, Runckel & O’Malley Attorneys at Law. We will answer all your questions, explain your legal rights and how best to protect them.
SAN PABLO, CA – A motorcyclist was killed Monday morning in a hit-and-run crash involving a big-rig travelling westbound on Interstate 80 in San Pablo. This was tragically the second fatal collision on the very same stretch of highway that day. The Contra Costa County Coroner was able to identify the victim.
Nicholas Brown, 35, from Fairfield, died in the collision, which was called in at 6:22 a.m. The accident happened on westbound Interstate 80 near El Portal Drive.
CHP Officer Matt Hamer said the big-rig truck, which was described as being yellow with a white trailer in back, hit Brown while making an unsafe lane change. Brown then struck another car, and this caused him to be ejected off his motorcycle, throwing him onto the highway. Brown was pronounced deceased at the scene.
Witnesses observed the big-rig driver pulling over and remaining for about five minutes before driving off, Hamer said.
A big-rig matching the description was later pulled over by officers, but that truck is not thought to be the big-rig involved in the crash. Hamer said that the search is still on for the suspected vehicle.
According to CHP officers, all lanes of the highway were reopened by 7:55 a.m.
Earlier that morning, in a separate crash on the same stretch of Interstate 80, Lindche Tran, 25 from Richmond was killed.
At approximately 4:05 a.m., Tran was driving along in a Honda Accord when suddenly it spun out of control, hitting the center median. The vehicle came to a stop facing the opposite direction and with lights out, Hamer said.
As Tran exited her car, a Dodge Charger was approaching and the driver could not avoid crashing into the Honda and Tran. She was pronounced deceased at the scene, said Hamer.
There were two occupants in the Dodge and both were transported to a local hospital suffering from minor injuries, Hamer said.
The highway remained shut down until about 6:10 a.m., which was less than 15 minutes prior to the collision that took Brown’s life.
Anyone who has information on either traffic accident is encouraged to phone the Oakland CHP Office at (510) 450-3821.
If you have lost a loved one in an accident caused by another, you may be eligible to seek compensation. That compensation will include present and future wages, medical expenses, and funeral costs, but it will also include loss of love, guidance and companionship, moral support, and financial support. Protect your rights, contact an experienced wrongful death lawyer at O'Connor, Runckel & O'Malley LLP.
Published on behalf of O'Connor, Runckel & O'Malley LLP
Suspect in collision released from jail just one day before the crash; mom and baby remain hospitalized.
The names of the two boys that were killed over the weekend in the Highway 4 crash have been identified. On Monday the authorities released their names as their three-month-old baby brother remained in the hospital fighting for his life.
Lorenzo Reyes, 10, and Vincent Rothenberg 5, both San Pablo residents, were riding in a Dodge Durango when they were ejected when an Infiniti FX flew off the Solano Way exit going westbound onto the adjacent on-ramp slamming into the Durango, according to California Highway Patrol authorities.
The crash occurred a little before 11 p.m. Friday night. The Coroner’s office of Contra Costa County released the names on Monday. The boy’s 35-year-old mother was still being treated on Monday at Walnut Creek’s John Muir Medical Center for neck injuries. Their 3-month-old baby brother remained Monday at Oakland’s UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in critical condition.
Lemuel Wilson, 35, from Oakland, is the one suspected of being behind the wheel of the Infiniti FX. He is now in custody, having been arrested for: suspicion of 2 counts of vehicular manslaughter, suspicion of 2 counts of hit-and-run that caused great bodily injury, as well as suspicion of 1 count of driving with a revoked or suspended license that caused great bodily injury.
Sgt. Ray Kelly, spokesman for Alameda County Sheriff’s Office on Monday evening confirmed that last week Wilson had been in jail facing charges involving misdemeanor battery, making criminal threats, and possession of ammunition while at Gale/Schenone Hall of Justice in Pleasanton.
Wilson’s case was heard before a Fremont judge last Wednesday. The judge lowered his bail, which was $100,000, down to $10,000. The following day, Wilson posted his lowered bail and was released from custody. That was one day before the Highway 4 crash, according to Kelly.
If you have lost a loved one in an accident caused by another, you may be eligible to seek a remedy and payment. Protect your rights, contact an experienced Wrongful Death Attorney at O'Connor, Runckel & O'Malley LLP. We are well known and respected throughout the legal community and among our clients. From our offices in Walnut Creek in Contra Costa County, San Francisco and Sacramento, we serve clients throughout Northern California. Our experience and expertise are available to you.