RIVERSIDE, California –Ruben Teriquez, 18, of Riverside was killed in a crash resulting from an apparent street race early Sunday morning between driver of a Ford Mustang he was a passenger in and a silver sedan that sped away from the scene of the crash, according to Riverside County Sheriff-Coroner and local news reports.
Jesus Gamez, 18, of Riverside, was behind the wheel of the 1994 Ford Mustang that police say was speeding with another motorist. He ran a traffic light, hit a dip in the road, then lost control of the vehicle and struck a parked vehicle and a telephone pole, according to the coroner and news reports.
The car crash took place at 5063 Mitchell Avenue at Norwood about 1:22 a.m. Both Teriquez and Gamez were extricated from the vehicle by Riverside Fire Department emergency workers. Teriquez was transported to Riverside Community Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 6:50 a.m.
Riverside Police Department and the CHP are investigating the circumstances surrounding the crash.
California Street Race, Drag Race or Speed Race
Indeed California has been known as the birthplace of street racing or drag racing. So what exactly is street racing? The California Department of Motor Vehicles describes a speed contest as an “illegal exhibition of speed conducted on public streets or highways using a motor vehicle.” Typically, such competitions may include a timing device, but often it pits one driver against another in a spontaneous roadway competition.
“Indeed this is highly dangerous conduct that often has devastating results,” said Attorney West Seegmiller, founder of the Seegmiller Law Firm. “Sadly our teenagers often lack the experience and wisdom to drive safely on our roadways.”
This type of illegal behavior by drivers is a threat to public safety and reportedly killed some 5,749 teenagers in 1999 throughout the United States, according to The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Additionally, the California Office of Traffic Safety, reports there were more than 800 citations issued in 2001 for illegal speed racing in California.
In Southern California, police are quick to crack down on drivers and spectators who engage in this type of racing. In fact, the city of San Diego was the first US city to allow the arrest of spectators attending street races. Drivers who violate street racing laws may lose their vehicle to an impoundment and or the vehicle may be destroyed. Police also have authority to suspend or revoke a driver’s license.
However, drivers and their passengers need not engage in illegal drag races to be at risk of death or injury on our roadways. In California, fatal traffic accidents were down 12% to 2,715 deaths in 2010 compared to 3,090 killed in 2009, according to statistics compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Additionally, national statistics show that traffic fatalities have declined in recent years across the United States, down roughly 3% to 32,885 deaths in 2010 compared to 33,883 killed in 2009. ______________________________________________________________________________
The Seegmiller Law Firm can be reached at 1-855-ASK–WEST. For over 30 years, the firm has been a staunch advocate for victims’ rights and has fought for clients involved in personal injury and wrongful death cases, including premises liability, product liability, auto accidents, dog bites, nursing home negligence, medical malpractice, at-work injuries and more. The firm has offices in Irvine, Riverside, Los Angeles, San Diego and San Bernardino, California, and Las Vegas, Nevada.