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17Jun/13Off

Orange County Accident Injures Sheriff Deputy

Orange County Sheriff's Department (California)

Orange County Sheriff’s Department (California) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Early Monday morning, an Orange County Sheriff’s Department deputy was injured in an auto accident after he was ejected from his vehicle.

The collision occurred around 3:00 a.m. in Mission Viejo. The deputy’s police vehicle struck a pole on Marguerite Parkway and Alarcon and was removed from the car.

Officials have not released the identity of the victim at this point. He was immediately taken to Mission Hospital to be treated for unknown injuries. Though based on the conditions of the accident, his injuries are likely serious; however, he is expected to survive.

The accident is still under investigation at this point, but the scene has been cleared. There were no other vehicles involved in the crash and no other injuries have been reported.

In most cases, an ejected victim leads to more unfortunate outcomes. This deputy is quite lucky to have only sustained injuries from the collision.

If you or someone you know has been injured in an accident, contact an Orange County Accident Attorney who will assist you with identifying negligence, filing claims; and can ensure that you receive the highest possible compensation for the damages that you have suffered, including punitive damages in the event of a fatality.

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7Jun/13Off

Federal Plan to Decrease Distracted Driving

Distracted driving

Distracted driving (Photo credits: www.smartsign.com)

Texting while driving is illegal in California, as well as other states; however, people are continuing to fiddle with their phones while stopped at a red light or worse, while in motion. The federal government has a plan to eliminate the distraction to increase general safety for drivers, but it will take a really great technology development and time.

More than 3,000 people are killed each in year in America from distracted drivers. That accounts for about ten percent of the fatalities caused by vehicular collisions. Though states can pass laws and police officers can issue tickets, there is no way to ensure that drivers keep their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road; but the government is working hard to get there.

The ultimate solution would be to make it impossible to send a text message or update social media while driving. The government is working with automobile manufacturers to create a technological obstruction, one that would deactivate the mobile device upon attempted usage in a car. The vehicle would sense the driver attempting to text or browse Facebook and would immediately shut it down. Though this idea seems outlandish and maybe impossible to some critics, advances thus far in the technology world have already proven that so many ideas can realistically be executed.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has made a proposition that outlines its ideas for restricting distracted driving. The key objective is to limit the amount of time a driver removes his/her hands from the wheel or his/her eyes from the road. The Administration wants car manufacturers to make it impossible to enter text for messaging and browsing while the car is in motion; and to disable video and social media content from being displayed.

A large issue that the NHTSA will face is that the change will require full participation from drivers; and if the pairing is not done easily, then drivers will opt out of it and continue to use their handhelds illegally. This is why it is looking for an innovative technological idea that will embed it within the car requiring compliance beyond being aware of it at the time of purchase.

This change may be inconvenient for some drivers; however, it could also save thousands of lives each year. Though distractions come in more forms than cell phones, it is likely that removing this specific diversion will reduce the amount of accidents that occur in the country.

Accidents are an unfortunate part of our lives. If you or someone you know has been injured in an accident, whether it was caused by a distracted driver or something else; contact an Orange County Accident Attorney today. A lawyer can assist you in identifying negligence, filing claims; and can ensure that you receive the highest possible compensation for the damages that you have suffered, including punitive damages in the event of a fatality.

The post Federal Plan to Decrease Distracted Driving appeared first on Accident Attorneys' Group.

6Dec/12Off

Child Molester Sentenced To Die In Prison

For years, society has tried to figure out what to do with the most perverted members of humanity who inflict harm on innocent children. A criminal judge in Southern California has the answer.

An Orange County judge told a convicted child molester last week that he should die in prison, and then did everything he could to make that happen.

Orange County Density Map. Darker shades indic...

Orange County Density Map. Darker shades indicate more densely-populated areas. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Superior Court Judge Richard King told Luis Alberto Pineda that there was nothing mitigating about his crimes, in which he molested multiple children, violated the trust of their parents and inflicted substantial sexual contact on the victims.

King then sentenced Pineda, a former soccer coach, godfather and karate instructor, to 285 years to life in prison plus 13 years and six months on 27 felony counts, plus several penalty enhancements, and three misdemeanor counts of assault.

The judge handed down the maximum possible term after he listened to poignant victim-impact statements from two of the boys Pineda molested, and from the mother of a third.

Pineda, 31, who was a close friend to many of the parents of the victims, sat silently at the counsel table during the 30-minute sentencing. He did not speak during the sentencing hearing.

He was a karate assistant instructor at Moo Yea Do Martial Arts in Fullerton for six years before he started working as a soccer coach for the North Orange County Youth Soccer Premier League, witnesses testified. He also coached the Fullerton Eagles soccer team, which met for practice at Woodcrest Elementary School in Fullerton and Sycamore Junior High School in Anaheim.

Pineda met many of his victims and their parents while coaching soccer and karate, and he was also the godfather to two of the boys, said Deputy District Attorney Cynthia Nichols.

But between 2005 and October 2009, Pineda also was a predatory pedophile who molested the 11 children, who were mostly 7 to 10 years old, while ordering them to keep quiet about the encounters.

The children, Nichols said, “are fighters who will not be victims for the rest of their lives. The reign of terror the defendant inflicted on these children ends today when he is sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison.

Pineda was then led from the courtrooms in handcuffs, not looking back to the courtroom gallery as the two boys hugged their parents.

If your child was the victim of a heinous crime that was caused by negligence or some other form of reckless behavior, it is important that you contact a committed and dedicated personal injury lawyer to help you decide if you should file a lawsuit. A competent and reputable injury lawyer can help you receive the compensation you deserve for your pain and suffering.

The post Child Molester Sentenced To Die In Prison appeared first on Accident Attorneys' Group.

6Dec/12Off

Lake Forest Votes To Repeal Sex Offender Law

The parents of children who live in Lake Forest may want to think twice before letting their children go to the park without adult supervision. Children in Lake Forest may be exposed to hidden dangers that may rob them of their innocence.

The Lake Forest City Council has voted to repeal an ordinance banning registered sex offenders from parks, saying the city can’t afford the potential legal liability of the controversial law.

Location map of Lake Forest, California within...

Location map of Lake Forest, California within Orange County, California. Created using data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Category:California city locator maps (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In doing so, Lake Forest becomes the first Orange County city to reject the law, which Orange County prosecutors have lobbied local governments to adopt. The repeal requires a second vote by the council, which is scheduled for December 18.

About half of Orange County’s 34 cities have adopted the law, which bars registered sex offenders from parks and beaches. And of those cities, nearly half are being sued.

The law’s legality became murky last month after a panel of Superior Court judges overturned the conviction of a registered sex offender who was sentenced to 100 days in jail for attending a 2011 Cinco de Mayo celebration in Orange County’s Mile Square Park.

The judges also asked the state Court of Appeal to review the case and the law’s legality, pointing out that restrictions on sex offenders are made by the state legislature.

The appeals court has until December 15 to decide whether to take up the case.

The Orange County district attorney has pushed cities to adopt the law, even as Sheriff Sandra Hutchens has told deputies to stop enforcing it. The Sheriff’s Department oversees law enforcement in much of South Orange County, including Lake Forest.

City Council members asked District Attorney Tony Rackauckas whether his agency would indemnify the city for damages from lawsuits challenging the ban’s constitutionality. One such suit against Lake Forest and three other Orange County cities is pending in federal court.

Rackauckas told council members Tuesday they shouldn’t buckle under such threats from sex offenders. He added the request for indemnification was “a grandstand play.”

If your child was the victim of a heinous crime that was caused by negligence or some other form of reckless behavior, it is important that you contact a committed and dedicated personal injury lawyer to help you decide if you should file a lawsuit. A competent and reputable injury lawyer can help you receive the compensation you deserve for your pain and suffering.

The post Lake Forest Votes To Repeal Sex Offender Law appeared first on Accident Attorneys' Group.

25Sep/12Off

O.C. Driver Sentenced In Hit-And-Run Death

Have you ever come close to running a pedestrian over? Of course, we all have. Imagine for a moment if you had run over a pedestrian, who actually has the right of way, and there are no other cars around. Would you stop? Would you keep going?

Like most law-abiding citizens, you’d probably stop. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Believe it or not, there are actually a lot of drivers who don’t stop and just keep going.

English: A pedestrian crossing sign that has b...

English: A pedestrian crossing sign that has been vandalized by the addition of a Red Bull can and wings. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

An Orange County judge sentenced a man on Friday to two years in state prison for leaving the scene after he fatally struck a woman in a Huntington Beach intersection.

He was not blamed for the accident itself.

Jason Michael Roberts, 33, of San Juan Capistrano, who pleaded guilty in May, was sentenced on one felony count of hit-and-run with injury in connection with the July 22, 2011, crash as four friends walked through a crosswalk at Brookhurst Street and Atlanta Avenue after a birthday celebration at a bar.

Oriana Millan, a 24-year-old mother of a now-6-year-old girl, was killed.

Roberts’ Toyota Camry struck Millan and a man who was part of the group in the crosswalk. Millan was pronounced dead at the scene, while the man suffered non-fatal injuries.

Roberts fled the scene, driving 12 miles to Laguna Beach before his car broke down because of the impact caused by striking Millan, Deputy District Attorney Troy Pino said.

Roberts had the “moral obligation” to stop and, except for the vehicle breaking down, “he’d be home free,” Pino said.

Roberts initially told Laguna Beach officers that he had struck a deer on Pacific Coast Highway, but authorities said the damage made it obvious he struck a person.

He deserved prison time because he lied to police and his action showed “a degree of callousness,” Superior Court Judge Gary Paer said. But his action did not warrant the maximum four years, the judge added at the hearing.

“There are no winners here,” Paer declared, having said earlier Roberts was not charged with causing the death of Millan, and the case likely would not even be prosecuted had he stopped at the crash scene. Police concluded that Roberts was not at fault in the “tragic accident,” Paer said. “The only crime here is not stopping.”

Millan’s sister-in-law, Lauren Bagosian-Ruvalcaba, told Paer her 6-year-old niece does not want to give away clothes her mother bought for her even though they don’t fit her now. For Christmas last year, the girl put this on her wish list: “I need Santa to bring my mother back.”

If a loved one was the victim of wrongful death that was caused by negligence or some other form of reckless behavior, it is important that you contact a committed and dedicated personal injury lawyer to help you decide if you should file a lawsuit. A competent and reputable injury lawyer can help you receive the compensation you deserve for your pain and suffering.

14Aug/12Off

Bustamante Probe Was Botched

If you’re going to do a comprehensive investigation based on several claims of sexual harassment, you better get it right the first time.

Orange County officials botched the sexual harassment investigation of former executive Carlos Bustamante so badly that the probe itself violated workplace policy and put the county at risk of being sued, an internal audit shows.

English: Santa Ana, 1887.

English: Santa Ana, 1887. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bustamante, a former executive in the county’s public works department who was arrested in July, is accused of sexual assault, false imprisonment and battery of seven female county employees over eight years.

The internal audit, prepared in February, notes that there were multiple complaints lodged against Bustamante and outlines concerns about how the inquiries were handled before the case made its way to the district attorney — a full year after the county was alerted to potential problems.

Complaints about Bustamante’s behavior surfaced as early as March 2011, according to the internal report, which was first reported by the online publication Voice of OC.

The first complaint, the audit notes, was never referred to the county’s central human resources department, a violation of county policy.

Instead, the complaint was investigated by Patricia Daniells, one of Bustamante’s subordinates.

Daniells, the audit notes, did not keep specific records of the interviews and instead produced a one-page “unaddressed, undated, unsigned and non-letterhead” report.

Further, two employees who Daniells said she interviewed later denied they’d ever talked with her.  Daniells’ inquiry was described in the audit as being “superficial.”

In August, another complaint about Bustamante surfaced and an investigation was farmed out to a law firm, which found “ample and credible witnesses” to validate the allegations against Bustamante, the audit notes.

The month-long investigation resulted in a written report that led to Bustamante’s resignation in October.

Potential witnesses approached by the law firm’s investigators “expressed fear of retaliation, especially from Human Resources, for testifying about Mr. Bustamante’s misconduct.”

“These fears were pervasive and two potential witnesses refused to interview in the presence of HR employees,” the audit notes.

The audit also references a lack of coordination between county counsel, the internal audit department and human resources. County counsel, for instance, was never informed that an outside law firm had been asked to investigate the complaints and was unaware that the county later met with Bustamante.

Since Bustamante’s arrest, his supervisor, Jess Carbajal, has been terminated and county Chief Executive Tom Mauk has resigned. Carl Crown, who was the human resources director during the time of the complaints, has retired.

Bustamante, who is free on bail, remains on the Santa Ana City Council.

If a loved one was the victim of negligence or some other form of reckless behavior, it is important that you contact a committed and dedicated personal injury lawyer to help you decide if you should file a lawsuit. A competent and reputable injury lawyer can help you receive the compensation you deserve for your pain and suffering.

8Aug/12Off

Earthquakes Rattle Southern California

Earthquakes are a part of living in Southern California. Unfortunately, earthquakes cause a lot of damage. In the last 24 hours, there has been quite a bit of seismic activity in the Orange County area.

An earthquake measuring 4.5 in magnitude rocked Orange County at 9:33 a.m. Wednesday, according to preliminary earthquake reports.

English: Map of 2010 Southern California Earth...

English: Map of 2010 Southern California Earthquake Storm (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The latest quake occurred one mile east-northeast of Yorba Linda.

An earlier magnitude 4.5 earthquake struck just east of Yorba Linda at 11:23 p.m. Tuesday, and was felt across a broad area of Southern California that included Los Angeles County and the Inland Empire, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

No significant damage or injuries have been reported so far from either quake, though some reported items tumbling from shelves.

They were part of a cluster of some 20 quakes in the same area since the initial quake Tuesday night, according to Bob Dollar, a geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey.

Six were in the magnitude 2 range, including a 2.7 quake that followed the 4.5 quake Tuesday night, and 11 in the magnitude one range.

“We’ll probably have more,” Dollar said.

Quakes of this size would not be expected to cause significant damage or injury, he said.

“If you’re right in the area, you might have something knocked off a shelf,” he said.

The quakes are consistent with the Whittier fault zone, Dollar said, although scientists do not know precisely know which fault generated the quake.

Early reports from those who felt the Wednesday morning quake came from Aliso Viejo, Anaheim, Brea, Buena Park, Capistrano Beach, Cypress, Dana Point, Foothill Ranch, Fountain Valley, Fullerton, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Irvine, La Habra, Ladera Ranch, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Newport Beach, Orange, Placentia, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, Santa Ana, Stanton, Tustin, Westminster and Yorba Linda.

Outside Orange County, reports also came from Alhambra, Beverly Hills, Carlsbad, Chino Hills, Corona, Glendale, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Malibu, Moreno Valley, North Hollywood, Oceanside, Ontario, Riverside, San Diego, San Pedro, Santa Monica, Torrance, Whittier and a variety of other locations.

The Tuesday night quake, two miles east-northeast of Yorba Linda and six miles south-southwest of Chino Hills, was followed within a minute by a magnitude 2.7 aftershock, earthquake reports show.

In Orange County, the quake was reportedly felt in Aliso Viejo, Anaheim, Brea, Buena Park, Capistrano Beach, Costa Mesa, Cypress, Dana Point, Foothill Ranch, Fountain Valley, Fullerton, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Irvine, La Habra, Ladera Ranch, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Woods, Lake Forest, Mission Viejo, Newport Beach, Orange, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, Santa Ana, Stanton, Sunset Beach, Surfside, Tustin, Westminster and Yorba Linda.

The quake was also felt in Corona, Lake Elsinore, Long Beach, Los Angeles, North Hollywood, Northridge, Oceanside, Pasadena, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Pedro, Santa Monica, Torrance, West Covina, Whittier and Woodland Hills, among many other places in Southern California.

If a loved one was the victim of wrongful death that was caused by negligence because the property owners failed to take adequate precautions in the event of an earthquake, it is important that you contact a committed and dedicated personal injury lawyer to help you decide if you should file a lawsuit. A competent and reputable injury lawyer can help you receive the compensation you deserve for your pain and suffering.