Nearly 21-months after 14-year-old Huntington Beach bicyclist Danny Oates died in a fatal Orange County, California bicycle accident, his parents and the parents of the man accused of hitting him with his truck will appear in court to make their cases over the defendant's plea agreement.
While Oates' parents will try to persuade the judge that truck driver Jeffrey Woods should receive the harshest sentence legally possible, his family members will plead for a lighter sentence. Woods is accused of driving under the influence of Xanax and Vicodin and text messaging as he drove his truck into Oates on August 29, 2007 at the northeast corner of Everglades Lane and Indianapolis Avenue.
Huntington Beach police say that Woods, then 20, swerved the Ford truck he was driving across traffic lanes and into oncoming traffic before he hit the boy. His vehicle then continued to travel some 25 feet before driving over the curb, hitting a tree, and crashing into a residence's cinderblock wall.
At the time of the deadly Huntington Beach traffic crash, Oates was going to Isaac L. Sowers Middle School to find his locker and pick up his 8th grade class schedule. After his bicycle was hit by the truck, Oates was thrown about 100 feet. He died soon after.
Woods has been charged with suspicion of felony vehicular manslaughter, felony driving under the influence causing bodily injury, and gross negligence while intoxicated. His criminal trial begins on June 26. Woods's family, however, maintains that he is not guilty of the criminal charges. His criminal defense attorney says that Woods was having a seizure when he hit Oates.
A few months after the teenager's death, the city of Huntington Beach announced that they would install lighted crosswalks and speed indicator signs close to Indianapolis Street. Oates's death sparked an outcry of concern about kids' safety when commuting to any of the six schools in the area. In March 2008, Oates' parents filed a Huntington Beach wrongful death claim against the city requesting that drivers be given better warnings that there are students traveling to and from school. Their claim also requested crossing guards.
Police records indicate that 78 Huntington Beach pedestrian accidents occurred in 2006 and 2007.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 306 pedestrians, ages 14 and under, who died in 2007.181 of those victims were boys. 14,000 of the approximately 70,000 pedestrians that survived their traffic accidents sustained injuries. 8,000 of those young pedestrians were males.
Walking or biking to school can sometimes prove dangerous for students that end up getting hurt or dying in pedestrian accidents. If your son or daughter was injured or killed while traveling to or from school because a motorist was driving recklessly or because the city failed to implement the proper safety measures to ensure that your child could commute safely, you may have grounds for filing an Orange County, California personal injury involving injuries to minors claim or a Huntington Beach wrongful death lawsuit.
Parents on both sides in teen bicyclist's death testify today, OC Register, May 15, 2009
Parents of H.B. 14-year-old killed on bike file claims, OC Register, March 11, 2008
OC Boy Killed In Crash Mourned By Family, Friends, CBS2,com, August 31, 2007
Related Web Resources:
Traffic Safety Facts: 2007, NHTSA
Please contact our Huntington Beach Pedestrian Accident Lawyers to discuss your case.