Police say that a man in a wheelchair suffered injuries that led to his death while he was attempting to cross a street in Long Beach last week. The man, Kyle McNeley, age 29 of Lakewood, was struck down by a hit-and-run DUI driver. Officers responded to the scene on Thursday to find the man lying on Bellflower Boulevard. He was later pronounced dead after being transported to the hospital.
Authorities say that the hit-and-run driver was Jesus Jorge Arias, a 37-year-old resident of Lakewood. Arias was driving north in his Jeep Grand Cherokee when he struck McNeley. He fled the scene at the time but returned later. Police charged Arias with driving under the influence of alcohol and causing injury; driving with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 and causing injury, and hit-and-run driving that resulted in death. He is also charged with two counts of child abuse under circumstances likely to produce great bodily injury or death, but no details were available on what led to those two charges.
Arias is being held on a $330,000 bond. He is scheduled for arraignment on April 18.
Long Beach is no stranger to accidents involving pedestrians. According to the Long Beach Post, there were 1,982 collisions between Jan. 1, 2013, and Jul. 1, 2018, involving pedestrians in Long Beach. This underscores the dangers that pedestrians face when traveling on foot on the city’s streets and highways.
Across California each year, approximately 14,000 pedestrian-related accidents occur. There were nearly 900 pedestrian deaths in 2017 alone. While DUI drivers are an obvious danger to everyone on the road, including pedestrians, there are additional factors behind the high number of pedestrian injuries and deaths in Long Beach and elsewhere in California. Poor driving, improper turning, poor weather and road conditions, distracted driving, aggressive driving, and speeding can also play a role.
Most cases of pedestrian-versus-auto collisions are the result of something the driver of the auto did. However, it is not unusual for a pedestrian to be partly to blame in such accidents, leading to the phenomenon of comparative negligence. This occurs when two at-fault parties share the blame at a disproportionate rate. It can also be the case that the city can be held responsible in part or in totality for a pedestrian accident if a dangerous condition causes the accident. In order for that to happen, it must be shown that the city was in charge of maintenance or upkeep for the street where the accident occurred, knew about the condition, and did not take proper and timely steps to correct it.
If you or a loved one has been injured as a pedestrian, reach out to the Law Offices of Howard Craig Kornberg and our pedestrian accident attorney. We will work aggressively to help you get any compensation for your injuries, so you can get your life back together again. Give us a call at 310-997-0904 to schedule your no-cost consultation today.