Northridge Crash Kills 2, Injures 4
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Northridge Crash Kills 2, Injures 4

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A horrifying two-car accident in Northridge cost two people their lives. Stephen Hook, age 61, of the Sherwood Forest neighborhood in Northridge, and Meredith Smith, age 62, of Lancaster were both in a black sports coupe as it struck a white sedan carrying four people. Hook, the driver, lost control of the vehicle as he traveled westbound on the 17500 block of Parthenia Street. All four of the occupants in the white sedan, who have not been identified, survived the crash.

Sports coupe was a custom-built hot rod kit car

TV news footage of the crash scene shows an utterly crumpled sports coupe on the side of the road. Early reports indicate that it had been a custom-built, hot rod-style kit car. Meredith Smith, the passenger, was pronounced dead at the scene. Stephen Hook was taken to the hospital, where he later died.

All of the victims in the white sedan are adults. The driver and front passenger were trapped in the car. Emergency responders had to extricate them, and they were taken to a hospital in critical condition. The two rear passengers have been hospitalized in serious condition with unknown injuries.

Cause of the crash still under investigation

The investigation remains ongoing, but early reports indicate that speed is being looked at as a possible factor. Area resident Tom Barker heard the accident. In an interview with NBC News, Barker said he heard the engine revving and thought the black sports coupe may have been going at 70 or 75 miles per hour. “They were flying,” he said.

The accident, which occurred on the afternoon of Saturday, January 26, shut down a stretch of Parthenia Street for about five hours. Neighbors in the area say that street racing is often a problem on that street, although the exact cause of the accident remains under investigation. It’s unknown if police investigators believe that alcohol or drugs may have been a factor in this case.

A look at liability issues in wrongful death cases


There are many details that aren’t currently known about the deadly accident in Northridge. However, in many car accident cases, it’s often found that one of the drivers is at fault. Some drivers may be held liable for damages if they were found to be driving recklessly, such as speeding or otherwise ignoring traffic laws. Distracted driving, drunk driving, and driving under the influence of drugs are also behaviors that breach the duty of care all drivers have to one another.

In cases in which the at-fault driver perishes in the accident, the survivors and the family members of deceased victims may decide to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver’s estate. A wrongful death lawsuit may result in compensatory damages that cover medical expenses, funeral costs, and loss of support, as well as damages such as the loss of love and affection of a deceased family member.

Legal help for Los Angeles, California residents

The aftermath of a serious car accident is chaotic. It’s often difficult for survivors and family members of victims to know what to do and where to go. At Ellis Injury Law, we pride ourselves on our approachable and accessible manner. We understand that car accidents can be traumatizing, and so we make it as easy as possible for you to sort through your legal rights and options. For compassionate client care and vigorous legal representation, call our car accident lawyers in Los Angeles at 888-369-2446.

Resources:

  1. NBC News, 2 Dead, 4 Injured In Violent Northridge Car Crash, https://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local/Two-dead-in-Northridge-Car-Crash-504922231.html
  2. KTLA5, Coroner ID’s 2 People Killed in Northridge Crash Involving Hot Rod-Style Kit Car, https://ktla.com/2019/01/28/coroner-ids-2-people-killed-in-northridge-crash-involving-hot-rod-style-kit-car/
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