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Lawsuit Filed Against LAPD Following Deadly Crash

By Renee Nordstrand on May 17, 2010

The parents of Devin Leigh Petelski, who was killed following a car crash with a Los Angeles Police Department Patrol car on October 15, 2009, have filed a lawsuit against the police department, the LA Times reports. 

Petelski, who was 25 at the time of the incident and working as a substance abuse counselor, had entered the intersection of Venice Boulevard and Glyndon Avenue when a patrol car, driven by LAPD officers Ramon Vasquez and James Eldridge on Venice Boulevard, struck Petelski’s vehicle. The accident spun the police car, which slammed into a tree and traffic sign. Petelski was hospitalized and died two days after the accident from her injuries.

The Petelski’s lawsuit alleges negligence, citing that the patrol car was driving above the posted speed limit of forty miles per hour and that the officers were using neither lights nor sirens to warn other motorists as they sped.  According to LAPD Commander Stuart Maislin, the police department had recently implemented a policy before the crash that required all officers to use both lights and sirens when exceeding the speed limit in response to an emergency. Vasquez and Eldridge were responding to a burglary call, however they had not told dispatchers that they were responding to the call, and there was another unit that had already been dispatched to respond.

If you have lost a loved one in an a car accident due to someone else’s negligence, please contact experienced and compassionated wrongful death attorneys who will fight for your legal rights during your time of need.  At the Law Office of Renee J. Nordstrand, we offer free consultations and you won’t pay legal fees until we successfully settle your case.

Los Angeles Police Office Seeks to Crack Down on Distracted Drivers’ Destruction

By Renee Nordstrand on May 4, 2010,0,4276097,full.column

Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez teamed up with Los Angeles Police Officer Kamaron Sardar this week on a mission to catch distracted drivers.  Lopez’s editorial, which appeared in the Times on Monday, highlighted four of the many citations issued during his traffic observation with Sardar at Hillhurst Avenue in Los Feliz.

According to Lopez, it took only five minutes for the duo to spot their first distracted driver, who was talking on a cell phone without a hands-free device.  Sardar went on to write four citations within a one-hour time period.

According to, a US Department of Transportation website, there are three primary types of distracted driving: Visual (taking one’s eyes off the road), Manual (taking one’s hands of the wheel), and Cognitive (taking one’s mind off of what one is doing).  Distracted driving activities include talking or texting on a cell phone, eating and drinking, talking to passengers, grooming, reading maps, changing the radio station, or using a navigational device.  According to the website, there were nearly 6,000 deaths in accidents related to distracted driving in 2008, with an additional 515,000 injuries.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident due to a distracted driver’s negligence, please contact experienced and aggressive personal injury attorneys today to learn about your legal options.  At Law Office of Renee J. Nordstrand, we offer free consultations and no fees until we win your case.

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Teenager Files Claim Against the City of Costa Mesa After Traffic Accident

By Renee Nordstrand on April 26, 2010

An 18-year-old San Clemente resident has filed a $42,000 claim against the city of Costa Mesa following a traffic accident at Fairview Road and Fair Drive that occurred on November 18, 2009, the Los Angeles Times reports.

In her claim, Katelyn Obbards states that she was riding her bicycle eastbound on Fair Drive at the Fairview Road intersection, and, as she crossed the intersection through a green light, the traffic signal changed from yellow to red in a few quick seconds, causing her to be hit from behind by a car traveling northbound on Fairview who accelerated when the signal opposing Obbards turned green.

As a result of the incident, Obbards suffered injuries including the loss of several teeth, facial lacerations, a fractured back, and a herniated disc.  According to Obbard’s attorney, a police officer that arrived at the scene of the accident had commented that the timing on the traffic signals was off.

It is the city’s responsibility to ensure that traffic signals function properly. If the signal was in fact off on the night of Obbard’s accident, the city of Costa Mesa may be held liable for her injuries and damages, including medical treatment, lost wages, and pain suffering.

If you have been injured on city property due to negligent conditions, please contact experienced, aggressive personal injury attorneys today for a free consultation.

DUI Hit and Run Kills San Diego Man

By Renee Nordstrand on April 16, 2010

27-year-old Oscar Lopez was killed Sunday night after being hit by a drunken driver on the Interstate 5, the San Diego Tribune reports.  Lopez was sleeping in the back seat of while his wife, Angela Lopez, drove their 2004 Ford Explorer, when 43 year old William Romero struck the Lopez’ car after drifting into their lane.

Oscar Lopez was ejected from the vehicle and pronounced dead at the scene. The Lopez’ son, Oscar Jr., was also ejected from the back seat of the vehicle but sustained only minor injuries.  Angela Lopez and a front seat passenger Ashley Lopez, Oscar’s sister, were uninjured.

Romero, who was driving while intoxicated, fled the scene of the accident and was later caught by authorities and arrested.  He is being held on bail with felony charges of drunken driving and vehicular manslaughter.

If you have been forced to cope with sudden and wrongful death of a loved one due to a drunken driver’s negligence, please contact a wrongful death attorney today for a free consultation and to learn more about how Los Angeles and Santa Barbara wrongful death attorneys will competently and aggressively obtain compensation for funeral expenses and pain and suffering after your loss.

Thirteen Year old Pedestrian Struck and Killed By Car on the PCH

By Renee Nordstrand on April 14, 2010

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s officials are continuing to search for witnesses to a fatal car to pedestrian accident on the Pacific Coast Highway on Saturday.  According to an article in the Los Angeles Times, 13-year-old Emily Rose Shane was walking northbound on the right side of the Pacific Coast Highway near Kanan Dume Road when she was struck and killed by a car driven by Sina Khankhanian, 26.

Authorities believe Khankhanian may have purposefully crashed his vehicle, although he did not intend to strike the victim. Anyone who witnessed the accident or has information may call the investigating Sheriff’s Department at (323) 890-5500.

This article does not give many details on how the accident occurred.  Many questions arise from the lack of information, such as whether the driver was distracted, under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or facing road conditions that may have caused him to swerve suddenly.  As the Sheriff’s Department continues their investigation, some of these details may come to light and help piece together why this terrible accident occurred.

If you have lost a loved one in a car to pedestrian accident, please contact wrongful death and car accident attorneys who can answer your questions and explain your legal rights.

Apellate Panel Overturns Ruling in Fatal Los Angeles Car Accident

By Renee Nordstrand on April 7, 2010,0,6659360.story

An appellate panel from the 2nd District Court of Appeal overturned a ruling by a Los Angeles Superior Court judge regarding second degree murder charges in a 2009 big rig to car accident on Tuesday, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Marcos Barbosa Costa, 44, of Everett, Massachusetts, drove a big rig on the Angeles Crest Highway into La Cañada Flintridge on April 1, 2009 despite the fact that his brakes were not working properly.  Costa passed two truck turnouts, where he could have safely stopped his truck, before his brakes eventually gave out and his truck struck a compact car, instantly killing its driver and passenger.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Lisa Lench dismissed second-degree murder counts against Costa in October, however the prosecution appealed her ruling and the three justice appellate panel found there was sufficient evidence that Costa was aware of the condition of his brakes and continued to operate his vehicle despite the risk it presented to himself and others.

This tragic car accident could have been prevented.  Each day, there are hundreds of car accidents in Los Angeles that could be averted by taking basic safety precautions.  When someone else’s negligence or lack of precaution causes you to be the victim in a car accident, contact experienced personal injury attorneys to learn more about your legal options and how we will fight for you to recover compensation for medical bills, lost earnings, and future care and treatment.

Fatal Car Accident on the 22

By Renee Nordstrand on February 26, 2010–.html

A tragic car accident in Orange killed 30-year-old Lorena Mancinas Wednesday, the Orange County Register reports. 

According to the news article, Mancinas was driving westbound on the 22 at around 4:20 p.m., when another car, driven by Young Woo Lee, 26, switched into Mancinas’ lane and clipped her right rear wheel, causing Mancinas’ vehicle to spin off the roadway and go over the guardrail.  Mancinas was pronounced dead at the scene.

I extend my deepest condolences to the families of all parties involved in this terrible accident.

The Fatality Analysis Reporting System Encyclopedia reports that in 2008 alone there were 34,017 fatal motor vehicle crashes in the United States.  Of these crashes, 18.9% occurred in areas where the speed limit was 60 M.P.H. or higher, as it is on the 22 highway.

If you’ve lost a loved one due to a car accident, and you believe someone else is responsible for causing the crash, please contact experienced car accident attorneys today to determine your legal options.  At Law Office of Renee J. Nordstrand, our attorneys have decades of experience in handling personal injury and wrongful death claims that arise from car accidents, and we will fight aggressively to pursue fair and just compensation for accident victims and their families.

21 Year Old Found Guilty of Second Degree Murder Following DUI Crash

By Renee Nordstrand on February 18, 2010

Twenty-one year old Brittany Schuetz of Santa Ana was found guilty of second-degree murder following a car crash that killed twenty-six year old April Whang in February 2009, according to the Orange County Register. Schuetz was driving with a blood alcohol level of five times the legal limit when she ran a red light at Beach Boulevard and Imperial Highway in La Habra, slamming into Whang’s car as it passed through the intersection on a green light. Schuetz already had a previous drunken driving conviction from 2007.  She will receive up to 15 years in prison at her sentencing on April 30.

Deputy District Attorney Susan Price expressed relief at the verdict, stating that because Schuetz was a young woman she feared the jury would give her a lesser punishment than she deserved for her actions.

Drunken driving is a serious crime. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident by a drunken driver, please exercise your legal rights and contact an experienced personal injury attorney to learn more about obtaining monetary compensation for your injuries and damages.

Studies Shows Half of America’s 20 Most Dangerous Roads Are Located in California

By Renee Nordstrand on February 16, 2010

 A recent study by the Scripps Howard News Service finds that 10 of America’s 20 most dangerous roads (in terms of highest number of fatalities) are located in California, the Ventura County Star reports.  The top three most dangerous roads are all in Los Angeles.  What makes California susceptible to so many dangerous roads and traffic deaths? According to the California Department of Transportation; speeding, drinking, and unfastened seat belts are the common causes for California’s high ranking.


According to the Star, there have been nearly 320 drunken-driving related deaths from 1994-2008 in Ventura County.  In the same time period, over 260 deaths have involved unfastened seat belts, and 220 have involved speeding.  37.6% of all traffic fatalities occurred on state highways, and nearly 200 fatalities  occurred on Saturday- the most fatalities of any day of the week.

Your Legal Options

The best way to practice driving safety is to take simple steps to ensure that preventable accidents caused by the most common factors do not occur.  However, even the safest drivers, who always wear a seatbelt, drive within the speed limit, don’t drive intoxicated, and limit driving distractions such as cell phones or eating while driving, aren’t immune to  car accidents. Sometimes accidents are simply unavoidable due to the conduct of other drivers and road conditions.  When an accident occurs beyond your control, you may be entitled to monetary compensation to cover your injuries and damages.  Experienced, aggressive personal injury attorneys will pursue legal action to obtain compensation for medical appointments, missed time from work, and future care and treatment. Call today to set up a free consultation.

Ventura County Seeks to Address Number of Traffic Fatalities, Raise Awareness

By Renee Nordstrand on February 9, 2010

A comprehensive examination of car accidents by the Ventura County Star and the Scripps Howard News Service reveals that three factors contribute time and again to traffic fatalities across the country, as well as in Ventura County.

In the Star’s study of 627, 433 nationwide traffic fatalities over a span of 14 years (1994 through 2008), thirty percent of fatal accidents involved drunken drivers. Thirty- two percent involved drivers who were traveling at an unsafe speed. Forty-three percent of traffic fatalities were not wearing seat belts.  Further, many accidents involved a combination of two or all three factors. These statistics correspond with the countywide statistics of 1,096 deaths from traffic incidents during the same time period.

According to the article, driving is one of the most dangerous activities of daily living, however, awareness of its inherent risks is low and often ignored.  As the number of distracted drivers on the roads continues to rise with the onset of cell phone applications, text messaging, and a culture consumed by busyness and activity, cars and commutes have shifted from simply a means of transportation to extensions of one’s life at the office or home. Distracted drivers will surely factor into future statistics on the primary causes of traffic accidents.

In the midst of overwhelming statistics, please do your part to eliminate car accidents by driving undistracted, wearing a seat belt, and maintaining the speed limit.

Serious car accidents can severely affect  a person’s life, through physical injuries, medical  expenses, a loss of transportation, and emotional stress.  If you’ve been involved in a car accident, exercise your legal rights and call Los Angeles Car Accident Attorneys today.  If you’ve lost a loved one in a traffic collision, experienced car accident attorneys can help.  We will protect your legal rights so that you are free to focus your attention on the grieving process and family. Call today for a free consultation.