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WESTMINSTER, California – Jessica Dayoan, 18, of Westminster was killed and two others injured Thursday night in what police say was a street race between her brother and another vehicle in the 14600 block of Hoover Street, according to new reports and a press release by the Orange County Sheriff Coroner.

Dayoan was riding as a passenger a red convertible Toyota driven by her brother, Jorel Dayoan, at the time of the 5 p.m. crash located at the intersection of Hoover Street and Hazard Avenue.

Her brother Jorel reportedly lost control of the vehicle and it swerved into oncoming traffic where it was then struck in the side of the car where Jessica was seated by the driver of a silver minivan, news reports said. Jorel sustained minor injuries in the crash. He was treated at a hospital and released.

The driver who was racing with Dayoan’s vehicle fled the scene of the crash, but the driver of the minivan was transported to a nearby hospital with critical injuries sustained in the Westminster car accident. Police are looking for the other driver.

Spring Break and California Street Race, Drag Race or Speed Race

The Westminster street race crash comes just a day after a deadly San Diego crash that killed two Santana high school students Jayli Campbell, 16, and Anthony Foreman, 18. In that crash, there were also two others critically injured. The driver of the vehicle, who suffered minor injuries, engaged in a street race with another friend on State Route 52. The second driver, Michael S. Johnson, 18, of Lakeside, who was racing with the teens was unharmed.

Police, however, arrested Johnson on charges of suspicion of vehicular manslaughter, driving under the influence of drugs as well as participating in a speed contest resulting in injury. He posted $50,000 bail and was released from jail Thursday afternoon, according to the San Diego Sheriff’s website.

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.