03/01/2011 // San Francisco , CA, USA // Mary Alexander // Bay Area Injury Lawyer Mary Alexander
San Francisco, CA (Bay Area Injury Lawyer News)— A group of California junior high school students were run over by a pickup truck that ran a stop sign, subsequently killing one girl and injuring four others on Wednesday, February 9, 2011. The fatal truck accident occurred at about 9 a.m., as the group of girls was walking to Mae Hensley Junior High.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported that witnesses said the pickup truck driver, identified as Larry Dale Duke, ran a stop sign in his raised Chevrolet pickup truck before plowing into the female pedestrians. The collision dragged one girl underneath the truck, before the vehicle managed to stop.
All the victims were reportedly 13- and 14-year-old females.
One girl was pronounced dead at the scene by responding emergency officials. Although her identity hasn’t been officially released, family and friends identified her as 13-year-old Danielle Tarancon-Leon.
Three other girls were injured in the crash and were rushed to area hospitals by emergency crews. Eighth grader Nancy Zavala was transported to the U.C. Davis Medical Center in Sacramento by a Medi-flight helicopter. Zavala was listed in fair condition on Thursday.
The other three victim’s injuries ranged from minor to serious. All three of the injured girls have since been released from the hospital.
Authorities investigating the crash are currently looking into whether Duke was wearing earphones or was on his cell phone at the time of the crash. Under California law, drivers are prohibited from using a handheld wireless telephone while driving or wearing earplugs or a headset covering both ears.
But, Duke denied any claims that he was wearing earphones or was on his phone at the time of the crash. In an interview with KXTL-TV, Duke said he didn’t know how the crash happened, but he said he might have fallen asleep behind the wheel because of health issues. Ceres Police Chief Art de Werk corroborated Duke’s claims by saying police found no earphones at the scene and no evidence Duke had used them. Police did find a cell phone, he said, but there was no indication Duke was talking on the phone when he hit the girls, he said.
A full investigation is underway. No charges have been filed, nor were any arrests made at the time. Charges are pending the results of the investigation partially due to the conflicting witness accounts.
*Leading Bay Area auto accident attorney Mary Alexander states if you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a motor vehicle accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and damages. With more than 25 years of experience litigating the multifaceted personal injury and wrongful death claims of accident victims and their families, contacting Bay Area Injury Lawyer Mary Alexander may help you obtain the compensation you deserve.