Posted On: July 10, 2008 by Allen, Flatt, Ballidis & Leslie

ORTEGA HIGHWAY DRIVING SHOULDERS ARE NOW THE CAUSE OF THREE DEATHS IN ONE YEAR

On July 3, 2008 two people were killed on Ortega Highway in Orange County California. The driver drifted to the right of this narrow two lane roadway and unfortunately became the second and third victims to poor maintenance by the State.

Ortega Highway links the communities of Orange County and Lake Elsinore. Ortega Highway is quite narrow and winding. The curves and roadway are just above the minimum of width for a normal vehicle. Trucks, cars, and motorcycles frequent the road daily.

On December 17, 2007, our client was traveling on Ortega Highway just past La Pata when his car's right front tire drifted off of the road surface on a turn. The shoulder, maintained (or not maintained properly) by the State, had a significant drop off of more than 9 inches. Shoulders are to be maintained by the State and maintenance is simple, place dirt or gravel along the surface edges so that the road way and shoulder are level. The condition of these shoulders have been poor for a long time, estimated to be more than 2 years.

Normally drivers whose right tire drifts off the asphalt slightly, have no problem correcting by a slight turn to the left of the steering wheel, on a normal properly maintained shoulder. This happens daily and frequently as evidenced by many markings on the roadway at different locations that are not in disrepair.

Unfortunately the drop off, experienced by our client, is not so easily overcome. The drop off actually inhibits the steering of the tire back onto the road surface requiring a heavy and instant hard turning movement. The tire does return to the road surface but immediately starts the car into a left hand spin over-correction into the oncoming lane of traffic.

Both in our client's accident for which he was killed and in the recent accident of July 3, 2008 occurring not more than 100 yards from each other, over correction caused a counterclockwise turning movement and unfortunate skidding into the oncoming traffic lane where they were then killed by an approaching car. Our office is representing at least one victim in this accident and we ask that all persons who may have information on this type of occurrence contact us. We can be reached by calling Brian Lew or James Ballidis at 888 752-7474. Our office represents victims of negligent design and care of roadways in California. If you know of anyone who has experienced such an accident and needs a good personal injury attorney see our web site www.allenflatt.com or contact us at 888 752-7474.