Case details

Hit-and-run driver caused pedestrian’s death





Result type

Not present

death, loss of parental guidance, loss of services
On Oct. 17, 2009, plaintiffs’ decedent Richard Ibison Jr. was struck and killed as a he crossed Main Street in Los Alamos by a vehicle driven by Jose Garcia. Garcia fled the scene, but was later apprehended. In 2010, he entered a consent plea of leaving the scene of an accident and failing to yield to a pedestrian. Ibison’s two daughters, Rubi Heston (through her guardian ad litem, Richard Ibison Sr.) and Kloe Seher (through her guardian ad litem, Jennifer Sehe), and his parents, Richard Ibison Sr. and Patricia Reasner, sued Garcia and his employer, Profound Systems Inc. They alleged that Garcia was negligent in the operation of his vehicle and that since he was in the course of his employment, Profound Systems was vicariously liable for his actions, making the defendants liable for the wrongful death Richard Ibison Jr. Defense counsel pointed to a toxicology report done after the accident, which showed that Richard Ibison Jr. had marijuana and methamphetamines in his system at the time of the accident. Counsel also contended that Ibison had a blood alcohol content of .23. Garcia claimed that Ibison suddenly stepped out into the roadway at a dimly lit intersection. However, the defendants eventually conceded liability., Richard Ibison Jr. sustained multiple blunt force trauma in the accident and died. He left behind two minor daughters. Ibison’s family testimony about what a good father and son he was. The mothers of Ibison’s children also spoke highly of the decedent. His two daughters testified about things they enjoyed doing with their father, such as bicycle riding, talking on the phone and going to playgrounds. Plaintiffs’ counsel conceded that Ibison had made mistakes in life, but was working to get his life back on track. Despite his admitted shortcomings, Ibison loved his daughters very much, counsel contended. The love and affection lost was real, despite any shortcomings of Ibison, added plaintiffs’ counsel. Thus, Ibison family sought recovery of damages for his wrongful death. His parents sought recovery for their loss of services and his children sought recovery for their loss of parental guidance. Defense counsel contended that Ibison’s parents lacked standing in the matter because they were not financially dependent upon him. Counsel also contended that Ibison only provided sporadic help around the home, such as doing a few odd jobs. Defense counsel noted that Ibison only made $1,200 the last year of his life, performing sporadic and unskilled labor. Defense counsel contended that Ibison had a long history of drug and alcohol abuse, and had an extensive criminal history that included allegations of assaulting someone with a hatchet. Counsel also argued that Ibison did not know his daughters until they were 5 years old and that they were the product of two drug and alcohol induced one-night stands. In addition, defense counsel contended that Ibison had his license suspended for failure to pay child support.
Superior Court of Santa Barbara County, Santa Maria, CA

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