Car accidents are far too common throughout Los Angeles. We have all stopped to look at a wreck on the side of the road. But few car accidents make national headlines like what happened recently in New York City. On Thursday, May 18, Richard Rojas recklessly drove his red Honda Accord onto a sidewalk at Times Square and struck several pedestrians, killing an 18-year-old woman and injuring 22 others. It was a shocking scene that was captured on camera and viewed by millions. Even more startling was the reaction from Rojas after the tragedy. The 26-year-old told police, “I wanted to kill them all.” Rojas has been charged with one count of murder, 20 counts of attempted murder and one count of aggravated vehicular homicide.
A History of Mental Illness and Substance Abuse
Perhaps the biggest tragedy of the accident is that it could have been prevented. Rojas had a long history of mental illness along with substance abuse. According to New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio, Rojas had demonstrated signs of mental issues going back to his childhood. Many went unaddressed during his stint in the U.S. Navy. Three of his victims are currently in critical condition battling for their lives. In addition to mental health issues, Rojas also has a record of drunk driving in his past. He later told officers at the scene he was high on marijuana laced with PCP.
Not Your Average Car Accident
One of the most common forms of car accidents is making an illegal U-turn. Rojas made a U-turn and steered his car towards a crowded sidewalk during a stretch of three blocks. Surveillance video captured Rojas’s car jumping the curb and slamming into pedestrians, sending several flying into the air and barrelling over the hood of his car. Eighteen-year-old Alyssa Elsman, a visitor from Portage, Michigan, was the lone fatality.
Preventing Future Tragedies and Protecting Pedestrians
Simply following the rules of the road isn’t enough to prevent car accidents. Police must also do a better job of cracking down on drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Each day, countless pedestrians are injured or killed in car accidents throughout Los Angeles. Although the Times Square accident is somewhat unique, the question remains whether there are enough legal measures in place to prevent such future tragedies in Los Angeles.
How a Los Angeles Car Accident Attorney Can Help
Not all car accidents are the same. Among the worst and most gruesome involve a pedestrian. Unlike drivers, pedestrians are completely exposed. Just one pedestrian accident can result in catastrophic injuries, which carry permanent consequences and lifetime of physical therapy and treatment. Having the right Los Angeles pedestrian accident attorney is crucial to recovering the maximum compensation needed to account for your injuries, medical bills, damages and lost wages.
The Los Angeles car accident attorneys at JML Law understand the challenges and obstacles accident victims face on a daily basis. Whether you have been injured in a car or pedestrian accident, their team of personal injury lawyers are committed to protecting the rights and interests of accident victims. To learn more, contact their law offices today to schedule a consultation to discuss your case.