A single-car accident last week near San Clemente claimed the life of one passenger and injured at least three more, according to the California Highway Patrol.
The car accident occurred when the driver of a 2004 Ford Explorer was allegedly driving too fast and was unable to stop in time for traffic that had stopped for an approaching immigration checkpoint. He attempted to swerve to the right in order to avoid ramming the line of stopped cars, but when he veered off the road, the vehicle overturned and rolled a number of times, throwing one passenger from the vehicle.
The passenger that was ejected from the vehicle was rushed to the hospital, but died from her injuries that afternoon. She was allegedly not wearing her seatbelt, which may have saved her life. The other passengers, two females and a male, also suffered injuries and were also taken to nearby hospitals.
Police shut down lanes on northbound Interstate 5 for accident investigation, causing major traffic delays for several hours. Police do not believe alcohol or drugs were a factor in the wreck.
It is possible that this accident may have been caused by a distracted driver. The driver may have been distracted by his numerous passengers or something else, but for whatever reason he didn't realize that traffic ahead had stopped until it was too late.
With so many potential distractions such as other passengers and mobile devices, it is more important than ever that drivers remain vigilant and refrain from taking their eyes off the road for even a few seconds. In this case, it could have made the difference between life and death.
Fortunately, no other vehicles were involved in the wreck, but the driver of the vehicle still owes a duty of care to his passengers, who may be able to collect damages from the driver if they can show that the driver's negligence caused the accident.
Source: NBC San Diego, "1 Killed, Several Injured in I-5 Rollover," Monica Garske, Oct. 13, 2012