Case details

Defendant denied speeding and claimed right of way





Result type

Not present

back, lower back
On July 1, 2004, plaintiffs Audrianna Wahlen, 14, and Lauren Wahlen, 11, were passengers in a Chevrolet Suburban driven by their mother on Lago Vista Way in Butte County. As they approached the T-intersection with Pentz Road, they came to a stop at a stop sign and then made a left turn as a vehicle driven by Brenda Bohannon-Pence came around a sweeping corner on Pentz Road and collided with them. Audrianna and Lauren claimed neck and back as a result of the accident. Jeannette Harris, acting on behalf of Audrianna and Lauren, sued Bohannon-Pence and the owner of Bohannon-Pence’s vehicle, Roy Pence. Harris alleged that Bohannon-Pence was negligent in the operation of her vehicle and that Pence was vicariously liable for her actions. Plaintiffs’ counsel contended that Bohannon-Pence was driving too fast around the corner and that the speed was so excessive that the plaintiffs’ mother didn’t see Bohannon-Pence’s vehicle until it was too late. Counsel also noted that at the accident scene, Bohannon-Pence told police that she guessed she was going 60 mph, and the officer found her at fault for the accident. Defense counsel argued that Bohannon-Pence had the right of way and was traveling at or below the speed limit. The accident reconstruction experts agreed on the length of the skid and the impact of the crash. However, the defense’s accident reconstruction expert testified that based on the vehicles’ damages, the skid marks and the distance that the cars were pushed post-impact, Bohannon-Pence’s speed couldn’t have been more than 50 mph. Thus, defense counsel argued that since forensic evidence showed that Bohannon-Pence wasn’t going more than 50 mph, the plaintiffs’ mother was at fault for the accident by failing to see Bohannon-Pence and pulling out in front of her., Audrianna claimed soft-tissue to her neck and back. She subsequently underwent four years of chiropractic treatment and physical therapy with apparent resolution and without residual complaints. Lauren also claimed neck and back . However, she had been involved in another accident eight to nine months prior to the July 2004 accident, which also alleged resulted in a lower back injury. Thus, Lauren claimed that the July 2004 accident aggravated her prior back injury. She subsequently treated with six chiropractors and three sports medicine doctors, and underwent physical therapy and epidural steroid injections. The plaintiffs’ expert neurologist testified that Lauren will need a lumbar fusion at some point in her life.
Superior Court of Butte County, Butte, CA

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