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Contra Costa County

A San Pablo man was arrested late Sunday evening following a fiery crash that left 3 people dead. At about 10 PM a 1971 Chevrolet Camaro, travelling eastbound  at high speed on San Pablo Dam road near El Sobrante, left its lane and sideswiped a Honda Civic in the westbound direction. The driver of the Camaro, 28  year old Justin Gardner, lost control of the vehicle, and hit a tree.

O’Connor, Runckel and O’Malley LLP would like to announce our 2015 scholarship recipient, Luis Beltran. Luis holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He graduated UNLV with a 3.6 gpa. Luis is a strong member of his community while holding positions as a mediator, house parent, and probation officer. In the fall, Luis will be attending the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. Luis expresses his commitment to utilizing his law degree in order to advocate for victims and to improve the quality of life for underserved communities.

O'Connor, Runckel & O'Malley 2015 Scholarship Recipient
Luis Beltran

We look forward to watching Luis succeed in his upcoming years at Hastings.

If you have been seriously injured due to someone else's negligence, you have the right to seek compensation. In the case of a personal injury lawsuit, the injured person, also called the plaintiff, seeks compensation from the person or company that is legally responsible for the accident: the defendant or their insurers. A damage award can be agreed upon out of court in a private, negotiated settlement, or it can be ordered by a judge/jury following a court trial.

To determine how much your case is worth, it is important to know just what factors into a personal injury claim.

A CHP officer, Sean Harrington, 35, of Martinez is under investigation for allegedly forwarding nude photos of a woman in custody from her cell phone to his. The woman is a 23 year old DUI suspect who had nude and partially nude photos of herself stored on her cell phone.  The attorney representing the woman believes there are likely to be other victims.

The woman became aware of the theft when she noticed that the photos in question had been forwarded to a phone number that turned out to be Harrington's. The Contra Costa District Attorney's office served a search warrant at the officer's Martinez home and seized his cell phone, which contained photos, text messages and instant messages from the victim's phone. The attorney representing the woman believes that other victims will surface based on the fact that multiple search warrants were served in the investigation.

CHP officer suspected of stealing nude pictures from DUI suspect he arrested

The arrest occurred just after midnight on August 29th when Harrington and his partner stopped a white sedan on Interstate 680 near Crow Canyon Road in San Ramon. The woman failed a field sobriety test with a blood alcohol level of 0.29 and was taken into custody for suspicion of DUI. During the traffic stop Harrington asked for the woman's cell phone password, which she gave to him. Investigators used video surveillance of the booking area to determine that Harrington forwarded the photos to himself at 2:08 AM, while the woman was in custody.

Felix Family of BrentwoodPosted on

On June 15th, at the crossing of Marsh Creek Road and Vasco Road in Brentwood, a red light runner struck the Felix family's 1998 Dodge Caravan, causing two fatalities.

Alonzo Felix and Andrea Beade had been driving to San Jose to get breakfast and then let their children enjoy the pony rides at a local flea market when the accident struck. The driver of the other car died from his injuries, and the entire Felix family was hospitalized. Their unborn fifth son of four months was killed in the crash.

Alonzo suffered severe lacerations to his arms and several fractured ribs, while his wife Andrea sustained a broken leg and several broken ribs. As of June 21st, the last two of their children have been released from the Oakland Children's Hospital, and are being cared for by friends of the family.

Posted on

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A three-car crash at the Antioch Speedway nearly took the life of a racer on Saturday night during the King of the West event, which took place at the Contra Costa County Fairgrounds at 1201 W. 10th Street.

Pete Murphy of Clovis had been in the process of completing his fourteenth lap of thirty when the accident took place. He was in second place when he was met with slower traffic, and clipped the right rear wheel of the car in front of him. This caused the wing of his car to tangle in the fence, and he flipped four times before grinding to a halt on his roof. His car was struck once more on its underside by another approaching racer.

Once the wreck had settled, the driver of the 1st place #00 car stopped his vehicle to assist Murphy, who was seriously injured and stuck inside his vehicle.

The Contra Costa County Fire Protection District responded to calls for assistance and arrived around 9:15p.m. Murphy had been trapped underneath his vehicle for forty minutes before he was extracted by having a part of his roll cage removed, and was then airlifted to the John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek where he is still recovering.

Bicycle Accident Fatality in San Francisco

A bicyclist was killed in San Francisco’s Mission district after colliding with a garbage truck on Thursday.

The accident was reported at 6:45a.m, May 23rd, 2013. The cyclist and truck were both traveling on eastbound 16th street when the truck attempted to make a right turn onto South Van Ness. According to a witness, the bicyclist was riding his bike at a notably high speed, and struck the truck as it was turning. Jorge Marquez, the driver of the truck, was stopped by pedestrians after dragging the cyclist for about a block. The cyclist was mangled by the drag and died at the scene.

A witness said that the bicyclist, 21 year old Dylan Mitchell of Clayton, could have been more careful. He had run a red light, didn’t seem to be paying attention to his surroundings, and neglected to wear a helmet.

The section of South Van Ness between 16th and 17th streets was shut down for the duration of the cleanup and initial investigation.

Jean Marie ArbelbideOne year ago, 63 year old Jean Marie Arbelbide died at a parking lot for the San Francisco International Airport by drowning. Tuesday, his family filed a lawsuit against South San Francisco in the San Mateo County Superior Court.

On March 29th 2012, Arbelbide traveled to the parking lot to perform maintenance. When he didn't come home, his family called the police and reported him missing. His car was found at the lot, and his body two days later.

Arbelbide, a self-employed gardener from San Bruno, was spraying weed-killer in the parking lot when some rotten plywood gave out beneath him. What he fell into was revealed to be a nine foot deep pit filled with stagnant water. This hole was referred to as "leftover infrastructure," originally used to block water flow to nearby docks, which would allow boat owners to maintain and work on their vessels.

San Bruno Gas Pipeline Explosion
Photo Credit: Brant Ward, San Francisco Chronicle


The destructive 2012 gas pipe explosion in San Bruno that claimed eight lives and destroyed 38 homes has yielded a multitude of lawsuits against PG&E. In a settlement with the Greig family, PG&E agreed to strengthen its gas pipeline safety regulations. The utility must maintain closer observation of the lifespan of its pipelines, and must calculate a minimum safe lifespan for pipes in populated areas. This will allow PG&E to identify weaker or aged pipes and replace them before they become dangerous, potentially preventing incidents like the one in San Bruno.

The Greigs will be able to receive an audit of the company's progress on these changes, and can prompt mediation talks if they see that the utility is not holding its end of the settlement. The family will receive regular reports describing progress made.

The deadline for these changes is set on December 31st, 2015, or whichever date is decided on by the California Public Utilities Commission. PG&E states that it has already begun following the new requirements, but the process will be an ongoing effort.

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