Ana Ortega, of Sanger, Died In Fresno County Car Accident With Off-Duty Clovis Police Officer By Clinton Avenue and Bethel Avenue
SANGER, CALIFORNIA (August 18, 2023) – A woman identified as Ana Ortega has tragically died in a Sanger car accident with an off-duty Clovis police officer by Clinton Avenue and Bethel Avenue.
Fresno County officials are saying that the accident took place around 8:00 a.m. on Thursday. An off-duty Clovis police officer was driving a pickup truck when he hit Ana Ortega as she was walking.
The police officer got out of his Chevrolet truck following the collision and began rendering first aid, including CPR. Paramedics were called to the scene and took over life-saving measures.
Sadly, Ana Ortega was pronounced dead at the scene. CHP officials are looking into the possibility that the officer involved was distracted by the glare of the sun. A full investigation remains ongoing at this time.
Liability For Sanger Car Accidents With Police Officers
Pedestrians are uniquely vulnerable in car accidents. They lack the protection of vehicles and are more likely to be overlooked in the first case. According to the Centers for Disease Control, “One in six people who died in crashes in 2020 were pedestrians. There were also an estimated 104,000 emergency department visits of pedestrians treated for non-fatal crash-related injuries in 2020.” There are a number of steps that drivers should take in order to avoid hitting pedestrians.
- Drivers should slow down during periods of inclement weather or reduced visibility.
- Drivers should check their blind spots before making turns.
- Drivers should slow down in areas with heavy pedestrian traffic.
All drivers have a legal obligation to take reasonable measures to avoid causing accidents. Pursuant to California Vehicle Code 21950, the driver of any vehicle approaching a pedestrian in any marked or unmarked crosswalk must exercise due care and reduce their speed for the safety of the pedestrian. Neither weather conditions nor the glare of the sun relieve a driver of their obligation to avoid hitting pedestrians. Depending on the facts of any case, a police department could be liable for a pedestrian accident involving their officer.
A police department could still be liable for acts of one of their officers even if the negligent officer was technically off-duty when the accident took place. Consider, for example, Harris County v. Gibbons. Even though the officer that struck another vehicle in this case was off-duty, the court held he was acting within the course of his employment because he had just glanced down to look at his computer terminal to determine if a nearby truck was stolen. There are several steps that should be taken after any car accident involving a police officer.
- Photos of the accident site should be taken.
- Eye witnesses should be interviewed.
- Surveillance footage should be sought.
- The police report for the collision should be reviewed.
Pedestrian accidents almost always involve some amount of driver error. The driver involve may have been distracted or traveling too fast for the prevailing conditions. Even driving the speed limit could be considered reckless depending on visibility and weather conditions. The family of any person that died in a car accident with a police officer may have legal recourse through a civil claim.
Investigating Car Accident With Clovis Police Officers
We at the Sehat Law Firm extend our deepest condolences to the family of Ana Ortega. Any person that may have more information about what happened should reach out to investigators. There needs to be a thorough investigation into what went wrong for the sake of the victim’s family.
Do you need more information about a Fresno County car accident? Our team of civil rights advocates are here to help in any way that we can. We care deeply that accident victims are aware of their rights and that those rights are being protected. Whether you just have legal questions or need a free, independent investigation into an accident we are here for you. You can reach out to us anytime at (949) 825-5200.