Taco Stand Hit-and-Run Leaves 1 Dead, 12 Injured
The driver was charged with vehicular homicide, two charges of hit-and-run, and eight charges of reckless driving
A dark evening turned even darker after last week’s horrific incident in Pomona, California. One person was killed and twelve were injured after a hit-and-run at a taco stand. The suspect, a 25-year-old woman, fled the scene after crashing the car.
When dozens of people decided to go out for tacos on the night of October 14, the last thing they expected was a tragedy. Pomona resident Diana Beatriz Martinez-Umana was the culprit in an event that left devastating consequences.
The Los Angeles County Fire Department responded to an emergency call at a taco stand around 7:45 p.m. in a parking lot on West Holt Avenue. Upon arrival at the scene of the accident, authorities confirmed a dozen people injured and one fatality. Gilberto Cazares Payan, a 52-year-old father of four, died at the scene.
Of the twelve injured who were rushed to the nearest hospital, two were minors. While two received medical assistance at the scene, three of them were sent to the medical facility in critical condition.
Although the suspect initially fled the scene on her own, she turned herself in to the police hours after the horrific event. The young driver faces charges of vehicular homicide, hit-and-run and reckless driving.
Police are continuing their investigation to clarify why Martinez-Umana inexplicably swerved into the oncoming lanes and crashed into the taco stand. It is not yet clear if she was under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Popular Place to Eat in the Area
According to witnesses at the scene, the vehicle suddenly swerved westbound and slammed into the taco stand. The vehicle ended up under the tent of the business after crashing into tables and chairs.
Neighbors are shocked by the terrible event, as many of them usually go there every week to get tacos. Tania Zamora, a neighbor of the victim, was devastated by the incident. “We are always here every weekend. It is heartbreaking to hear what happened to them,” she said.
Throughout Saturday and Sunday, family and friends of the victim gathered to remember the father of four.
The owners of the taco stand and acquaintances of Cazares have initiated different campaigns to raise funds for the family.
Reckless & Distracted Driving is Becoming More Frequent in California
Although the motive for the hit-and-run at the taco stand has not yet been determined, investigators assess distraction as one of the main causes. As we have been publishing in recent weeks, most fatal accident news stories have distracted or reckless driving as the origin of the incident.
In recent years, distracted driving has passed drunk driving as the leading cause of fatal crashes in California. Texting, phoning, or eating can be the causation that results in a tragedy. These behaviors, while considered illegal, sometimes result in hit-and-run cases, such as the one at the taco stand.
Hit and Run Dangers: California, the Most Affected State
With the increase in traffic accidents over the past few years, driving cautiously is necessary. As published by NHTSA, the first quarter of 2022 has been marked as the deadliest in the last 16 years. California, with a 6% increase over 2021, ranks first in the country. In total, there were more than 9,500 fatalities in the first three months of the year.
It’s a fact. As there are more accidents, there are also more drivers who don’t want to face the consequences. Many of those responsible for these vehicle crashes are on the run. The reasons? From driving under the influence of alcohol to driving without insurance. However, as previously mentioned, distracted driving is often the main cause.
In the last decade, there were more than 17,000 hit-and-run fatal accidents nationwide. Over a ten-year period, there has been a 44% increase. California, again, ranks as the most affected state, accounting for 17% of total incidents and hovering around 3,000 fatalities.
But what causes drivers to flee the accident? The fear of facing the legal consequences of an accident causes these drivers to behave inappropriately. The possible penalties for a hit-and-run, however, are severe. It could be considered a felony by the courts, depending on the factors involved in the accident. This, in addition to the consequent fines and penalties, would mean between 24 and 48 months in prison. In the event that the responsible party caused the incident while intoxicated, the punishment is stiffer: the guilty party would see an additional 5 years to the sentence of the case.
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Going out to dinner with the family should not be a concern. Experiencing a hit-and-run at a taco stand should be the last thing the citizens of Los Angeles, San Diego, or San Francisco experience. However, these “one-time” events happen more than we would like. Affected by a similar circumstance? Have you experienced another driver’s negligence negatively and want to bring them to justice? Count on us.
At Adamson Ahdoot, we have over 100 years of combined personal injury experience, so we know the pain families go through. Suffering the grief of losing a loved one is a lifelong consequence. Our team aims to restore the financial stability and mental relief you deserve.
Tell us about your case and allow us to get to work to achieve the compensation you are looking for. If you would like to receive a free, no-obligation consultation on your case, call us at (800) 310-1606.
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