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15-year-old Lacey Wilson remains hospitalized at John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek after being hit by a van in a Military West crosswalk last week. The teen is in critical-but-stable condition. Only immediate family members have been allowed to visit Wilson's bedside.

In addition to the question of Lacey's health, whether the injured teen is covered by medical insurance is also an issue facing the family. Lacey was hit during a five-day window between when one insurance policy was dropped and when a new one was  to replace it, according to her mother, Nina Wilson.

Lacey and a 14-year-old friend were injured when they were hit by a van while crossing Military West at West 2nd Street at  8:20 p.m. Thursday evening. The van was traveling westbound, toward the setting sun. There is no stop sign or traffic signal on Military West at the crosswalk, however it is marked with a yellow pedestrian sign at its center.

Lacey remains sedated, and is recovering from four skull fractures, two pelvic fractures and a leg fracture, in addition to a brain injury. Her friend, who lives in Texas but is in Benicia visiting family, has been treated and released for a leg injury.

According to police the van's driver, 49-year-old Bruce Ricketts, of Benicia, may have been blinded by the setting sun causing him not see the two girls crossing the street in the crosswalk. The case is under continuing investigation.

Auto accidents, including pedestrian involved accidents, as in Lacey's unfortunate case, are the leading cause of death and injury in the United States. The fact that there is a question regarding her medical insurance coverage underscores the importance of the securing the assistance of a experienced and qualified personal injury lawyer. If her accident was caused by the negligence of the driver of  the van, she and her family could be financially compensated, and a personal injury attorney will be able to obtain the maximum settlement.

If you or a loved one has been the victim of motor vehicle negligence 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.The attorneys at O’Connor, Runckel & O’Malley are well known and respected throughout the legal community and among our clients. From our offices in Contra Contra Costa County, San Francsico and Sacramento, we serve clients throughout Northern California. We have nearly 45 years of litigation and trial experience. We have the expertise and a proven track record of success. Our experience and expertise are available to you.

(Source: Contra Costa Times)

walnut creek auto accident attorney

Early Monday morning the driver of a Mercedes sedan struck a Toyota Yaris head-on, killing both passengers within, and then fled the scene in a hit-and-run.

The auto accident occurred at 3:20 a.m. at the intersection of North First Street and Skyport Drive near Casino M8trix in San Jose. The women, identified as 62 year old Carmen Zavala and Christina Castro, also in her 60s, were driving to their jobs at Mineta San Jose National Airport.

Initially, two highway patrol officers had spotted the Mercedes driving erratically on Highway 101 and attempted to pull it over near Brokaw Road and First Street. However, the Mercedes made a left turn and sped onto First Street, at which point the officers decided not to pursue due to potential safety hazards.

The Toyota was making a left turn onto First when the Mercedes met it head on. The driver of the Mercedes exited the vehicle, apparently unharmed enough to flee the scene on foot. One of the women, the passenger, died at the scene, while the driver died shortly after being transported to a local hospital.

Due to a lack of witnesses, the driver was not see while escaping, thus no description is available at present.

The southbound side of North First Street was closed temporarily, and traffic was rerouted to Metro Drive as the crash was investigated.

Max Borbeck, a security guard stationed nearby, said that he had heard a "big bang" prior to the crash, and noted that this intersection sees its fair share of speeding vehicles.

A wrongful death is a death caused by a negligent, careless, intentional or reckless act of another person or corporation. Experiencing the death of a loved one is an extremely difficult time and we understand that nothing can truly compensate you for the loss. However, if you have lost a loved one in an accident caused by another, you may be eligible to seek a remedy and payment. All states guarantee the right to compensation for families and children of those who are killed in a wrongful death. 

Protect your rights, by contacting an experienced wrongful death lawyer immediately. When you call the law offices of O’Connor, Runckel & O’Malley, you will be talking with an attorney who has spoken with hundreds of people in your similar circumstance. You will be treated with the respect and sympathy you need during your time of heartbreak and anguish.

(Source: NBC)

Antioch, CA
5/18/12

The Law Firm of O'Connor, Runckel and O'Malley is representing six sisters who had been sexually abused by their parents virtually every day since they were toddlers. The sisters say that their nightmare grew more horrific as the people they counted on to rescue them — police, child-welfare workers, their church pastor — failed to deliver.

Bruce “Zion” Dutro, 51, was sentenced to 300 years in state prison, and his 49-year-old wife was sentenced to 15 years in 2011 after taking a plea deal in what veteran sex crimes prosecutor Paul Graves called the worst child sex abuse case in memory to go through Contra Costa County courts.

A year after their parents were imprisoned for sex crimes spanning 20 years, the Dutro sisters — Glenda Stripes, Amber and Sarah Dutro, Martha McKnelly, Frances Smith and Christina Moore — are now suing the people and agencies they say failed to protect them as children by not following laws and procedures for handling child abuse.

“Every one of the agencies had the duty and power to save these girls, and every one failed them,” said the sisters’ attorney, Jason Runckel, founding partner of O’Connor, Runckel & O’Malley. “They made their father untouchable. The girls never had a voice.”

Video Coverage on KGO 7 - Interview with Attorney Jason Runckel

Antioch Sexual Abuse Case

The lawsuit, filed in Contra Costa Superior Court last week against Contra Costa County, city of Antioch, Calvary Open Bible Church in Antioch, and seven individuals who are either current or former CPS, police department or church employees. It alleges the defendants were negligent and failed to fulfill state-mandated duties that, if done, would have spared the Dutro children years of further abuse.

“We came forward because we didn’t want it to happen to another child,” said Sarah Dutro, 28. “We didn’t know until the case was over how badly everyone screwed up before.” The suit asks for an undisclosed amount for past and future medical bills, and pain and suffering for the sisters, each of whom suffers from severe psychological disorders as a result of the abuse. Now adults with 12 children among them, the sisters gave permission to reveal their names in this story.

The 22-page civil complaint names defendant Mark Wood as the pastor whom Stripes first told about the abuse Aug. 2, 1995, and claims his immediate tipoff to the parents afforded them time to condition their daughters to lie to authorities.

That same day, the parents locked up five of the girls in one bedroom and Glenda in another, the victims said. For 16 days, until police sent CPS to the house Aug. 18, 1995, the sisters said they were beaten, starved, sleep-deprived and brainwashed on what to say to authorities. Young Glenda, meanwhile, was subjected to the same torture between rapes.

Wood, Stripes and her parents first went to the Antioch Police Department six days after the 14-year-old had confided in Wood. Officer William Dee noted in his police report that he was instructed by Detective Demetree Barakos before the meeting not to arrest Bruce Dutro, and so he sent the family home after obtaining a confession from the father, said Runckel, the sisters’ attorney. Both Barakos and Dee are defendants in the lawsuit. It was another officer who called Bruce Dutro back to the Police Department on Aug. 18, 1995, and sent CPS to the house after obtaining a second confession.

“They actually apologized to my parents for being there, as if it was an inconvenience,” said McKnelly, 26.
Bruce Dutro pleaded to one count of child molestation for fondling Stripes, when in reality he was raping her, she said, and he spent four days in jail before being sentenced Nov. 1, 1995, to three years of probation. The judge ordered him to register as a sex offender and obey all CPS orders.

For the first six months of his probation, Bruce Dutro lived in an apartment near the family home. Glenda Lea Dutro moved in with him, leaving their daughters by themselves at the house with little food. Like many times in the course of their childhood, the Dutro girls were not enrolled in school.

At night, their mother would bring one of them to the apartment to have sex with their father. Had anyone from the county ever visited the house as they were supposed to, they would have at minimum learned that the girls were living without adult supervision, Runckel said.

“My father told me after 1995 and he was slapped on the wrists, every time he molested me, it was like laughing in their face,” Stripes said. “It’s not about getting money. I want things to change so no child has to go through what I went through.”

O’Connor, Runckel and O’Malley is a law firm dedicated to the protection of the victims of sexual abuse.

Full Story at Contra Costa Times

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