$8,470,000 Settlement - Dangerous Intersection And Negligent Truck Drivers Cause Five Deaths

A total of five persons were killed and one person received permanent brain damage in three separate accidents occurring between August 1999 and November 2000 at the intersection of Eleventh Street and Lammers Road located in the City of Tracy in the County of San Joaquin. The intersection had no overhead lighting, no left turn lanes, and was only controlled by stop signs on Lammers Road. As the City of Tracy grew in size, the traffic increased and the speed of vehicles in the intersection increased. The intersection was located on the main road out of the city westbound toward the Bay Area where many Tracy residents worked. The intersection was especially dangerous when it was dark in the early morning when commuters shared the intersection with big rig trucks delivering products to nearby warehouses.

In the first case, we represented the families of two Tracy Defense Depot workers who were killed when their Honda Civic went under a big rig truck trailer making a left turn across Eleventh Street in the dark. The truck driver had to wait for traffic to clear before completing his turn which left the trailer completely blocking the lane in which the Honda was traveling. The truck could not be seen by the workers because it did not have retro-reflective markings and several of the running lights were not operable. The case settled during trial for $2,580,000.

The City of Tracy began the design process to improve the dangerous intersection after the first accident in August 1999. However, the construction did not start for 16 months during which time two more deaths and a traumatic brain injury occurred because the City failed to take any interim safety measures or warn motorists of the dangerous intersection. In the next fatal accident, we represented a Tracy resident who was killed on his way to work at night when he attempted to make a left turn onto Eleventh Street and was struck by a speeding van that did not see his vehicle in the dark.

Tragically, the last accident occurred on November 10, 2000 only a few days before construction started to improve the intersection. In an accident similar to the first accident, three brothers, who were cement construction workers traveling in a Nissan pick up truck on their way to work in the darkness, went under a big rig trailer blocking Eleventh Street killing the driver and causing traumatic brain injury to a passenger. The case went to trial and settled thereafter for $5,550,000. As a result of these accidents and the successful litigation by our attorneys, the intersection was finally improved to include speed controls, traffic signals, street lighting and left turn lanes.