ORANGE COUNTY, California – Three pedestrians were killed in separate traffic accidents around Orange County including a hit and run crash where the driver later returned to confess the crime, according to reports by the Orange County Sheriff Coroner Department.

Gary Skaggs, 61, was killed Saturday night as he crossed North Rose Drive at Alta Vista about 9:19 p.m. Placentia. The Orange County Register reported that Skaggs ignored signs warning not to jaywalk as he stepped into traffic about 300-feet from a designated crosswalk.  Paramedics responding to the pedestrian accident transported Skaggs to UCI Medical Center in Orange where he later died at 9:55 p.m.

A second unidentified pedestrian died the day after they were struck by the driver of a taxi cab near Reef Point in Newport Coast.   On Saturday, Sept. 29, the person was crossing the roadway at 8086 E. Coast Highway about 7:48 p.m. when they were struck by a driver in a taxi van. The victim was transported to Western Medical Center in Santa Ana where they were pronounced dead the following day on Sunday, Sept. 30 at 4:45 p.m.

Harvey Mayo, 65, of Fountain Valley was struck early Sunday morning just after midnight by a hit-and-run driver on Newhope Street and Southpark Avenue in Fountain Valley.  The driver later returned to the scene of the crash about an hour later to turn himself into police. Police arrested Ricardo Gomez, 38, of Costa Mesa, on felony charges of hit-and-run as well as having outstanding warrants, according to the Register. Mayo died at the scene of the crash about 12:25 a.m. on Sunday morning.

Police told reporters that they do not believe the driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If you have any information regarding the death of Harvey Mayo you are asked to call police at (714) 593-4484.

Pedestrian Accident Statistics

Pedestrian accidents have been on the rise nationally. According to the latest statistics compiled by the National Highway Transportation Safety Authority the number of pedestrians in the United States who were killed in traffic accidents was up 4.2% to 4,280 people in 2010 and up 19% to 70,000 people injured.

Locally, pedestrians killed in traffic accidents, however, dropped in 2010 to 32 killed compared to 41 in 2009, according to the2009 and 2010 California Highway Patrol Statewide Integrated Traffic Reports. Also, the number of people injured was also down in 2010 to 770 pedestrians suffering injuries compared with 864 injured the previous year in 2009, the report said.

Liability for a pedestrian accident will depend on the circumstances of each individual case, said Attorney West Seegmiller, founder of the Seegmiller Law Firm. Under California law, both pedestrians and drivers are respectively required to take precautions when entering a roadway or where pedestrians are present.

“Motorists must yield the right of way to pedestrians even if the pedestrian is illegally crossing outside of a sidewalk, however, the liability for the crash may fall on both parties,” Seegmiller said. “A driver, for example, may have been driving too fast or found to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In such a case, the victim and the driver may share the responsibility for the crash.”

Indeed, our courts have ruled that when two parties are both somewhat at fault for a crash that they may share liability for damages. Under the concept of comparative negligence, lawyers in California who represent a defendant may claim a victim was partially at fault for an accident, however, a court would simply determine on a percentage basis how much the victim was at fault and reduce compensation for damages accordingly. In other words, if they are equally at fault for a crash the victim would receive 50 percent of what a jury awards in a verdict.

This article was sponsored by the Seegmiller Law Firm. Our attorneys offer a free consultation for prospective clients who have been injured or have lost a loved one in a crash. Call 1-855-ASK–WEST (1-855-275-9378) to speak with an attorney.

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 and San Bernardino, California, and Las Vegas, Nevada.