Posted by Car Accident Attorney
Over the past year there were thousands of traffic accidents and incidents reported in the headlines. There were heartbreaking tragedies we will never forget, unexpected stories of survival and costly crashes that cost millions.
The list, compiled by The Seegmiller Law Firm, includes miracles, tragedies, famous people and bizarre car accidents. The list is subjective and was based on what our California Personal Injury Law Firm believes were the most unusual, interesting or tragic.
- Most Miraculous Car Crash was the Miracle in a Ravine. David Lavau, a 68-year-old grandfather, survived a 200-foot crash into a ravine and was trapped for six days in the Angeles National Forest. He was rescued by his own children whose unrelenting search for him led to his discovery. Lavau said he ate bugs and leaves and drank creek water to stay alive after the Sept. 23 crash. It was also unusual because his car landed beside another car containing the remains of deceased driver who had also been missing, but unfortunately he was not discovered alive like Lavau.
- Most Massive Settlement was $73 million against Ford benefits victims of car crashes with faulty tires. In what may be one of the largest settlements ever for a car accident the Ford Motor Co. was found liable in October this year for $73 million in damages after a double fatal car crash resulting from faulty tires. The tires had been subject to a 2002 recall and Ford was found negligent for failing to alert its customers about the defect in which tire treads separated from the Goodyear tires. In the case before the court, two men died and two others were injured after defective tires caused a driver of the Ford E-350 Econoline van to lose control of the vehicle on April 9, 2004. The 15-passenger van was transporting members of the Fair Oaks Presbyterian Church who were returning from a statewide music tour. The driver, 48-year-old William Brownell was killed as well as the front seat passenger 41-year-old Tony Mauro.
- Most Notable Race Car Driver Killed was the death of 33-year-old Dan Wheldon in a 15-car collision October 16 at a Las Vegas Motor Speedway was one of the most horrific multicar crashes in race car history. Wheldon’s car was launched up into the air over spinning cars and flew about 325 feet into the catch fence. His helmeted head hit a pole and the blunt force impact was not survivable. Recent reports show there were several factors that led to the car crash including the multi-grooved wide “limitless” racing surface that increased the danger of pack racing on a high-banked oval race track. In a report to the media on Dec. 15, investigators looking into the cause of his death on described the multiple conditions that led to Weldon’s death as a “perfect storm.”
- Most Notable Celebrity Killed in a Car Crash: “Jackass” star Ryan Dunn dies doing what he’s notorious for. Dunn died after a night of drinking in a Pennsylvania single-vehicle car crash. Dunn, 34, was driving and Tweeted a photo of himself and two friends with a beer and cigarette in hand, just hours before crashing his 2007 Porche. The car burst into flames. Runner up: Wrestling celebrity Lanny Poffo dies in crash after suffering a heart attack.
- Most Expensive Car Crash : In terms of property damage, a car crash on Sunday, Dec. 4, in Tokyo, Japan was estimated to be about $3.63 million in damages. The 14-car pileup on the Chugoku Expressway involved eight Ferrari, three Mercedes Benz, a Lamborghini, a Nissan GT-R and a Prius. The crash involved a group of luxury car enthusiasts who were taking part in an excursion from Kyushu to Hiroshima. There were 10 people injured in the crash who were transported to local hospitals for treatment.
- Most Unexpected Traffic Accident: A tree planted in a media crushes a woman waiting at a red light. The 29-year-old woman was killed Sept. 15 after the massive 50- to 70-foot eucalyptus tree fell on her car as she waited at a red light. Sadly the woman, Haeyoon Miller, of Tustin, was alive at first, but the tree shifted and crushed her before emergency crews could extract her. The tree was at the intersection of Irvine Avenue, near the 17th Street intersection. Following the incident, the city has ordered the removal of all the old trees as tree inspectors found they had root rot. There is likely to be multiple parties sued including the city as well as the company that deemed the trees healthy prior to the tree accident.
- Most Notorious Arrestee: Rodney King (July 2011) Rodney King, 46, of Rialto, was caught driving under the influence near the Moreno Valley town center in Riverside, California this past July. King was driving his 1994 Mitsubishi when officers observed him committing “multiple infractions.” He was charged with misdemeanor counts of DUI and driving with a blood alcohol level above the legal limit of .08 percent. He pleaded not guilty at a Nov. 8 hearing. King was previously convicted for a DUI offense and faces one year in jail. King, who is of African American decent, is best known as the man who was beaten by four white officers in a 1991 arrest. A year later, those police officers were acquitted sparking the now infamous1992 Los Angeles riots where 55 people died. King made a public plea to rioters “Can’t we all just get along?” King more recently was in the news to tout his new book, “The Riot Within: My Journey from Rebellion to Redemption. Learning How We Can All Get Along” due out in April , the 20th anniversary of the L.A. riots.
- The Strangest Celebrity Crash: Los Angeles Dodger James Loney on Nov. 14 was driving his Maserati and was arrested for driving under the influence after hitting three cars on the 101 freeway near the Sepulveda exit. A witness who was struck by Loney described him as unconscious behind the wheel when she approached his car. He then took off and hit two more cars. Witnesses described Loney as disoriented and say they found him hunched over the steering wheel as if he were sleeping. Police said Loney refused a breath test and the blood test performed came back negative. There have been no formal DUI charges filed against Loney to date.
- Most Death-Defying Crashes Caught On Tape: Clarence Kinney, 83, was driving his 2007 Ford F-150 the wrong-way in the fast lane on Interstate 5 freeway in Oceanside California and it was caught on video by another driver’s cell phone on the opposite side of the freeway. The clip became a You Tube sensation and miraculously no one was seriously injured in the four car accident. Runner up: Car crashes into Mission Viejo bike shop caught on video. The crash took place at the Rock N’ Road Cyclery. A woman driving a 2001 Cadillac Deville with her granddaughter crashed through the front of the business in the 27800 block of Santa Margarita Parkway.
- Most Heartbreaking Car Crash: Sadly there are so many California car crashes that fit this description over the past year, but this was one was especially heartbreaking. After a fiery crash on the 101 freeway in Calabasas, Gilani Taylor is severely burned. She manages to pull herself out of the burning 1995 Chrysler and attempts to rescue her trapped daughter Jayla Taylor, but the 9-year-old had already died in the Oct. 1 crash. Passersby tried to extinguish flames on the local R&B singer who was burned on 80% of her body. She died despite heroic efforts to save her life. Taylor, 27, of Oxnard, died a few weeks later. The rescue was caught on tape as people tore off their clothes and threw water on her to put out the flames. Witnesses believe a white SUV struck Taylor’s vehicle prior to the crash.