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Two Dead, Two Injured After High-Speeds Causes Crash into Ditch

Date:  March 13, 2012
Location:  NE162nd Avenue, near Fargo Street, Portland
Names:  Larry Gene Williams, Latasha Simone Kinney, Rebecca Jones, Christopher James Gould

Two Portland residents were killed Monday afternoon after a high-speed crash on Northeast 162nd Avenue. A vehicle smashed into a tree and then went into a water-filled ditch, trapping the four occupants inside. The two passengers who weren’t killed are in a serious condition in a Portland hospital.

Portland Police spokesman Sergeant Pete Simpson told KGW.com that a car was seen speeding along NE 162nd Avenue just after 4 p.m. Monday. Witnesses told Sgt. Simpson they estimated the car’s speed at between 70 and 100 mph. Just before the intersection with Fargo Street, the car went out of control and struck a tree before going into the ditch.

Emergency crews had to use specialist equipment to free the trapped occupants. The driver of the car, Larry Williams, 56, of North Portland, and Latasha Simone Kinney, 32, of Southeast Portland, both died from their injuries. The other two occupants suffered traumatic injuries and are reportedly in a serious condition. They have been identified as Rebecca Jones, 51, and Christopher Gould, 25, both of Southeast Portland.

We would like to send our most sincere sympathies to the families and friends of Larry Williams and Latasha Kinney at this tragic time. We also send our best wishes and hopes for a complete recovery to Rebecca Jones and Christopher Gould. Our thoughts are with you.

Wrongful death claims are allowed by law. ORS 30.010-30.100.

The statute of limitations for a wrongful death claim is tricky. It is “three years after the injury causing the death . . . is discovered or reasonably should have been discovered. . . .”  In other words, it’s not three years from the date of death; it’s three years from the date of the original injury that ultimately caused the death. If a person goes into a coma from a car crash, and dies eight months later, the case will have to be brought within three years from the date of the car crash, not from the date of the death.

Compensation available includes charges for medical expenses; memorial and burial services; compensation for the person’s pain, suffering, disability, and loss of income from the time of the injury through the time of death; financial losses to the person’s family or other heirs; compensation for the loss of companionship and services to the person’s spouse, children, stepchildren, stepparents and parents; and punitive damages may sometimes be available as well.

The law caps the amount of noneconomic damages at $500,000. This does not apply to economic damages, which are not capped.

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16 Year Old Driver Faces Two Manslaughter Charges After Chase Ends in Crash

Date:  March 7, 2012
Location: West 11th St. and South Bertelsen Road, Eugene
Names:  Emmanuel Herrara-Gutierrez, Richard Lee Taylor, Joshua Sundquist

A 43-second high-speed chase in Eugene early Wednesday morning ended in tragedy when two people were killed and two others were injured.

Eugene Police confirmed that Emmanuel Herrara-Gutierrez, 16, of Eugene, has been charged with two counts of manslaughter after a crash at West 11th St. and South Bertelsen Road. It all started just after 12:30 Wednesday morning. OSP Trooper Jered McLain stopped a Nissan Maxima being driven by Herrara-Gutierrez at more than 100 mph.

After initially stopping for the trooper, the Maxima suddenly raced away, ran a red light at Beltline and West 11th, hit a Eugene Police Department car on West 11th, and then ran another red light at West 11th and Bertelsen, where the car smashed into a Chevrolet S-10 pickup being driven by Richard Taylor, 62, of Eugene. Taylor and a 43-year-old female passenger who has not yet been named were both ejected from their vehicle by the force of the crash.

They were rushed to Sacred Heart Medical Center, RiverBend, but both of them tragically died from their injuries. The driver of the EPD car, Recruit Officer Joshua Sundquist, was treated at a local hospital for non-life threatening injuries and later released, according to the report on KATU.com.

Herrara-Gutierrez was also injured in the crash, but his injuries were minor. He was treated, released and taken into custody.

We would like to send our sincere and heartfelt sympathies to the families and friends of Richard Taylor and the woman who was killed in this incident. Our thoughts are with you.

Wrongful death claims are allowed by law. ORS 30.010-30.100.

The statute of limitations for a wrongful death claim is tricky. It is “three years after the injury causing the death . . . is discovered or reasonably should have been discovered. . . .”  In other words, the case will have to be brought within three years from the date of the car crash.

Compensation available includes charges for medical expenses; memorial and burial services; compensation for the person’s pain, suffering, disability, and loss of income from the time of the injury through the time of death; financial losses to the person’s family or other heirs; compensation for the loss of companionship and services to the person’s spouse, children, stepchildren, stepparents and parents; and punitive damages may sometimes be available as well.

The law caps the amount of noneconomic damages at $500,000. This does not apply to economic damages, which are not capped.

The Oregon Department of Transportation Safety reported that in 2008 alone, speed-related accidents killed 216 Oregonians. That number far exceeds the amount of drunk driving fatalities! But, as always, law enforcement is in full effect, and the Oregon State Police are continually looking for ways to both protect the innocent and punish those who endanger lives. If caught, you could lose your license, receive an expensive ticket, or go to jail.

Springfield Man Arrested for Death of Bicyclist

Date:  February 26, 2012
Location:  River Road, Eugene
Names:  James Robert Gleich, Mingo Pelkey

A Springfield man was arrested at his home on Sunday and now faces charges relating to the death of a cyclist last August.

According to the story on KVAL.com, Mingo Pelkey, 39, was cycling along River Road, less than a block from her home on August 29, 2011, when her bicycle was struck by a silver-colored Volkswagen Passat being driven by James Gleich, 53, of Springfield. After the crash, Pelkey died from her injuries, and the Eugene Police Department’s Major Collision Investigation team have been examining the accident ever since.

Gleich now faces charges that could see him end up behind bars for many years. They include manslaughter in the first degree, criminally negligent homicide and reckless driving.

We would like to extend our sympathies once again to the family and friends of Mingo Pelkey at this horribly difficult time. Our thoughts are with you.

In the wake of a tragedy like this, each person must deal with it in whatever way works best for them. We would never try to talk someone into taking legal action. It is an individual decision that can only be made by Mingo Pelkey’s family.

Wrongful death claims are allowed by law. ORS 30.010-30.100.

The statute of limitations for a wrongful death claim is tricky. It is “three years after the injury causing the death . . . is discovered or reasonably should have been discovered. . . .”  In other words, it’s not three years from the date of death; it’s three years from the date of the original injury that ultimately caused the death.

Compensation available includes charges for medical expenses; memorial and burial services; compensation for the person’s pain, suffering, disability, and loss of income from the time of the injury through the time of death; financial losses to the person’s family or other heirs; compensation for the loss of companionship and services to the person’s spouse, children, stepchildren, stepparents and parents; and punitive damages may sometimes be available as well, in cases of extreme negligence.

The law caps the amount of noneconomic damages at $500,000. This does not apply to economic damages, which are not capped.

Colorado Man Killed in Pedestrian Accident in Astoria Oregon

Date:  February 13, 2012
Location:  Intersection Highway 30 (Commercial St.) and 12th St., Astoria
Names:  James Alan Lum, Arthur P. Clark

A Colorado man visiting relatives in Astoria was killed Monday morning as he was crossing the street. The driver of the pickup that hit the pedestrian is a 42-year-old Astoria man.

The report on North Coast Oregon News said James Lum, 67, from Colorado Springs, Colorado, was crossing Commercial Street (Highway 30), at the intersection with 12th Street just before 10:30 a.m., when he was struck by a 2004 Chevrolet Silverado pickup turning left onto Commercial St. from 12th St. The driver was Arthur Clark, 42, from Astoria, who immediately stopped and stayed at the scene until paramedics arrived.

An ambulance rushed Lum to Columbia Memorial Hospital, but he was pronounced dead from his injuries. Oregon State Police are continuing their investigations into the events leading up to the accident, but an eye witness has told them Lum was in a marked crosswalk when he was hit by the pickup.

We would like to extend our most sincere sympathies to the family of James Lum at this tragic time.

If a pedestrian is hit in a crosswalk, it is generally considered the driver’s fault. However, just like everything in the law, there are exceptions. If the pedestrian was drunk and wearing dark clothes, and it was dark, the driver can sometimes escape prosecution. Or if a pedestrian darts out unexpectedly into an intersection, the law may take the driver’s side too.

None of these possibilities appear to have been factors in this accident, and in most cases, the law will consider it to be the driver’s fault, and the pedestrian’s family will be able to get legal compensation. All cases are different, of course, so contact a knowledgeable wrongful death lawyer if you have any questions about your case.

Wilsonville Teacher Died from Injuries Sustained in Classroom Fall

Date:  February 7, 2012
Location:  Inza R. Wood Middle School, Wilsonville
Name:  Susan Asher

A seventh grade social studies teacher from Wilsonville has died from her injuries after falling in her classroom last Thursday. Students and parents were informed Tuesday morning.

According to the report in The Oregonian, Susan Asher was hospitalized last Thursday after a fall. Staff members tried to help her, but the yearbook teacher had suffered traumatic injuries, and an ambulance transported her to a local hospital. Her family had told the school’s principal, Barb Soisson, that they had seen hopeful signs of a recovery over the past five days, but sadly, Asher died from her injuries Tuesday.

We send our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Susan Asher at this horrible time.

In Oregon, property owners are responsible for making certain their property is maintained safely, without any unreasonable dangers. Despite laws intended to protect people, many accidents still occur due to dangerous conditions.

Common types of premises liability cases with examples:
Slip and Fall: A store owner fails to mop up a wet floor, or provide proper traction, and a person slips and falls as a result.
Inadequate Maintenance: A hotel owner fails to maintain the premises, like when a falling tree branch injures a passerby because it has not been properly trimmed.
Defective Conditions: A property owner fails to repair or warn the public about a dangerous condition in the area, such as a broken staircase.
Inadequate Security:
A parking structure company fails to install adequate lighting or warn patrons about dangerous criminal activity taking place on the premises.

If you or a member of your family has received injuries due to negligence by a property owner, contact a premises liability lawyer in Oregon to help you investigate, handle your case, and advise you of your options.

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