Man Killed by Hit and Run Driver in Arden-Arcade
Authorities are investigating a hit and run accident that killed 54 year old Stephen Vuletich of Sacramento. According to a news report in the Sacramento Bee, at approximately 7 a.m. on Wednesday June 3rd, 2015, Vuletich was crossing Marconi Avenue diagonally from the northeast corner of Calderwood Lane when he was struck by a red sedan. The driver of the red sedan was traveling eastbound on Marconi east of Fulton Avenue and fled the scene, according to the California Highway Patrol. Vuletich was pronounced dead at the scene.
Our thoughts go out to the family of Mr. Vuletich. We hope any witnesses to the collision or anyone in whom the driver confides about the collision does the right thing and comes forward with that information to law enforcement authorities.
Hit and Run Statistics
According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, 193 fatalities and injuries were reported in 2012 involving traffic collisions with pedestrians in the city of Sacramento.
What Caused This Collision?
The report does not state the cause of the collision. What we know is that it appears Mr. Vuletich was crossing Marconi Avenue from the northeast corner of Calderwood Lane by the Bank of America and Citibank. This is an area on Marconi where the roadway transitions from an eastbound left turn lane to a reversible lane. There is a bus stop on the south side of Marconi and it does not seem as if there are any visual obstructions, such as trees, in the center of the road.
There are many questions that still need to be answered to determine fault in this collision. To be sure, Mr. Vuletich was crossing outside of a crosswalk. Was he wearing dark or light clothing? Was the driver speeding? On their phone or texting? Distracted by the radio or a passenger? What were the traffic conditions at that moment? Was the driver’s view obstructed by other vehicles? Were they tired or under the influence of alcohol or a drug?
Certainly the authorities will learn more about the cause of the collision as the investigation continues. In any event, by fleeing the scene after the collision the driver is likely guilty of violating California Vehicle Code section 20001, commonly known as a Hit and Run, following injury or death. This is a crime in which the District Attorney has the discretion to charge either a misdemeanor or felony based on their assessment of the crime.
Victim’s Family’s Legal Rights
If the driver of the sedan is determined to have been at fault, he or she could be held liable for the wrongful death of Mr. Vuletich. This claim is generally brought by the surviving family members and the law sets forth the order of priority of who gets to file this type of claim. In a wrongful death claim, the eligible surviving family members can recover money damages for the loss of love, companionship, comfort, affection, society, solace, and moral support from their lost loved one. In addition, they can recover the value of household services that loved one would have provided in the future, as well as value of future financial support they would have received but for the death. They can also obtain the costs of burial and funeral expenses.
Again, our sympathies are extended to the family of this tragedy. They would be well advised to contact an experienced wrongful death attorney who will aggressively protect their legal rights and interests so they may focus on the grieving process.