Case details

Family: SUV failed to yield to motorcyclist, resulting in death





Result type

Not present

death, loss of consortium, loss of society, multiple trauma
On April 12, 2013, plaintiffs’ decedent Jeffrey Williams, 61, a dentist, departed Shell Beach on his 1995 BMW RIOO-RT motorcycle to meet his son in the Coachella Valley for a music festival. While traveling east on State Route 154, in Santa Barbara County, Williams approached the intersection with Alamo Pintado Avenue at approximately 1:40 p.m. At the same time, Andrew Rodriguez was driving a 2003 GMC Yukon sport utility vehicle on westbound SR-154, approaching the intersection with Alamo Pintado Avenue. As Williams proceeded into the intersection, Rodriguez attempted to with make a left turn onto Alamo Pintado Avenue from the dedicated left turn lane on westbound SR-154, causing his SUV to collide into Williams’ motorcycle. As a result, Williams was violently launched from his motorcycle and into the shoulder located south of SR-154, resulting in fatal . Rodriguez was subsequently criminally charged with the misdemeanor of vehicular manslaughter. The decedent’s wife, Heidi Williams, and their two children, Natalie Williams and Matthew Williams, acting individually and on behalf of the decedent’s estate, sued Rodriguez and the owner of the SUV, Rodriguez’s mother, Genene Hartstein. The decedent’s family claimed that Rodriguez was negligent in the operation of the SUV and that Hartstein was negligent in the entrustment of the vehicle to Rodriguez. Plaintiffs’ counsel contended that Rodriguez made an unsafe left turn onto Alamo Pintado Avenue and failed to yield to Williams in violation of California Vehicle Code § 21801(a). Counsel argued that there was no comparative negligence since Williams was wearing a helmet, abiding by the speed limit, and traveling in a reasonable and safe manner. Additionally, counsel argued that the physical evidence and data downloaded from Rodriguez’s vehicle supported the contention that Rodriguez made no effort to stop or yield before entering the intersection., Jeffrey Williams sustained multiple traumatic and died at the scene. He was 61. The decedent was survived by his wife and two children. The decedent’s family sought recovery of damages for their loss of earnings, and loss of love, comfort, affection, society and moral support of their late father and husband. They also sought recovery of non-economic damages for the decedent’s wrongful death.
Superior Court of Santa Barbara County, Santa Barbara, CA

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