New Traffic Legislation Passed Following the Death of A Food Pantry Volunteer

New Traffic Legislation Passed Following the Death of A Food Pantry Volunteer

EMT paramedics in a rescue operation after a car crash

April 24, 2020

Ellis Law Corporation


New legislation was introduced by Los Angeles Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez on Wednesday, April 22, in an effort to provide additional support and relief during the COVID-19 pandemic. Among many initiatives, the plan includes a motion to increase traffic safety at local food banks, which was added in response to the recent traffic death of food pantry volunteer Arturo Melendez of San Fernando.

Food pantry volunteer pinned between two vehicles

Melendez was loading food into the trunk of the car on the morning of April 17, when another driver accelerated toward him, striking him and pinning him between the two vehicles. Emergency vehicles arrived and transported Melendez to Providence Holy Cross Medical Center, where he later died of his injuries. Officials believe that the elderly driver of the other vehicle was confused and had accidently driven his vehicle forward, striking Melendez.

The incident raised questions as to whether proper safety measures are being practiced to keep volunteers, recipients, and others safe as food drives and other COVID-19 volunteer relief events continue to increase.

“I understand the public’s anxiety and urgency to get the resources they need for their families; however, we can’t afford to put even more lives at risk,” said Rodriguez in response to the incident. “I urge the public to exercise greater caution and honor operating guidelines and exercise patience while you wait in line.”

Councilwoman Rodriguez’s Traffic Safety Plan would call on LAPD and LADOT to create traffic guidelines for individual food pantry locations to improve safety and ensure proper ingress, queuing, loading, and egress protocols. 

Her legislation also includes: organizing a group of experts to develop a reopening strategy for the city, installing domestic violence resources at essential businesses, expanding utility relief for low-income residents, supporting those living in overcrowded households, partnering with local restaurants to feed the homeless, and preparing for the wildfire season amid COVID-19.

What to do if you’ve been involved in an accident

If you or someone you know has been injured or killed in a vehicle accident while working or volunteering, you may be eligible for financial compensation. Vehicle accidents often result in many unexpected expenses that can continue to pile up long after the incident is over.

If you or a loved one was the victim of a car accident, call Ellis Law today and speak with an experienced car accident lawyer. Learn your rights as a vehicle accident victim in a free, no-obligation case evaluation.