At around 10:45 a.m. on Friday, March 18th, the driver of a gold four-door pickup truck fatally struck 68-year-old motorcyclist Daniel Smilanick on Highway 101 in Oxnard. A police chase ensued after the driver fled the scene. Police pursued the hit-and-run driver, who has been identified as 23-year-old Michael Johnson, into Santa Barbara County, observing him point a handgun at his head and then at an officer before throwing it out of the vehicle’s window. After successfully avoiding several spike strips, he was finally apprehended when he crashed into a patrol car and a guardrail near El Capitan State Beach, according to a California injury attorney.
The number of motorcyclists killed in traffic accidents on California roads and highways decreased by 29.6 percent from 560 in 2008 to 394 in 2009, marking the end of an 11-year, 175 percent continuous increase in motorcyclist fatalities, according to the California Office of Traffic Safety. In addition, the number of fatal motorcycle accidents involving alcohol decreased by 4 percent. Despite these improvements, California remains among the three states that lead the nation in motorcyclist fatalities. However, whereas California led the nation in fatalities in 2008, in 2009 it placed behind Texas and Florida.
All of us at Allen, Flatt, Ballidis, and Leslie would like to offer our condolences to the family of Daniel Smilanick, the motorcyclist fatally struck by the hit-and-run driver in Oxnard.
Resources for accident victims and their families, including books and articles on the injury and wrongful death claims process, are available to the public free of charge.
If you would like to request one of these free resources, or to speak with a California injury attorney, feel free to call 866-981-5596.