Two Dead in Fiery Wrong Way Crash on 5 Freeway
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Two Dead in Fiery Wrong Way Crash on 5 Freeway

emergency vehiclesTwo people died in a wrong-way crash on the 5 Freeway in Santa Ana in the early morning hours of June 28. A Jaguar sedan driving south in the northbound carpool lane hit a motorcycle going north in the lane. The driver of the car and of the motorcycle were killed. There were no other occupants or riders in either vehicle.

Not Clear Why Driver Was Driving Wrong Way

Both vehicles ignited upon impact.

The motorcyclist was identified as Hugo Juarez, 36 years old. Mr. Juarez was wearing a motorcycle helmet, but CHP officials noted that the force of the impact overrode its protective function. Mr. Juarez’s body was cut in half.

The driver of the Jaguar has not been identified.

The accident occurred slightly south of the 22 and 57 interchange, near the Santa Ana-Orange border.

The California Highway Patrol (CHP) indicated that they had no idea how the car had arrived in the wrong lane. A CHP spokesperson noted, however, that head-on collisions in the car pool lane are surprisingly frequent, partly because the lane’s separation from the main 5 freeway means vehicles can’t swerve to another lane to avoid each other.

The northbound lanes were closed for several hours, delaying traffic for miles.

Who Is Negligent in a Vehicle Accident?

While we can’t ascertain a specific accident’s causes while an investigation in in progress, we can note some general facts about negligence in the case of a vehicle accident under California law.

All operators of a vehicle, both cars and motorcycles, must exercise reasonable care toward all other parties when they drive a vehicle. That means they must act with reasonable care to other drivers, any passengers, other vehicles, and any other party involved.

Drivers need to obey the rules and laws governing driving. They need to pay attention to traffic, the conditions of driving such as night visibility and traffic.

The state has a duty of care to maintain its roads, entry and exit signs, and other traffic signals in reasonable and good repair.

Legal claims can be filed if an accident has caused injuries or death as a result of another party’s negligence. “Negligent” means that the party, whether driver, passenger, or anyone else involved in the conditions of the accident, failed to exercise reasonable care.

A driver going 25 miles an hour faster than a posted speed limit, for instance, may be deemed negligent by a jury because the driver was not taking reasonable care to obey traffic laws and rules of the road.

How a Seasoned Car Accident Attorney in Southern California Can Help

Wrong-way accidents are unfortunately all too frequent in the Los Angeles area. But a car accident doesn’t need to be that spectacular to cause injuries and death.

When you or a loved one need an experienced car accident attorney, call the Ellis Injury Law Firm at 1-800-INJURED for a complimentary initial appointment. We have been successfully fighting for the rights of southern California residents for more than 20 years.

Additional Resources:

  1. Cota-Robles, Marc. “2 killed in fiery crash involving wrong-way driver in Santa Ana; northbound 5 Freeway shut down for hours.” ABC7 Eyewitness News. June 28, 2018. http://abc7.com/traffic/2-killed-in-fiery-wrong-way-crash-on-5-fwy-in-oc/3668164/
  2. Kurzweil, Anthony, et al. “Wrong-Way Driver Dies After Fatally Striking Motorcyclist on 5 Freeway in Santa Ana.” KTLA5. June 28, 2018. https://ktla.com/2018/06/28/at-least-1-killed-in-fiery-crash-on-5-freeway-in-santa-ana-northbound-lanes-closed/