An accident that occurred on June 20th in Orange County has left a family devastated and trying desperately to identify the responsible hit-and-run driver. According to KTLA news, the accident happened while three members of the Argo family were heading northbound on the 405 freeway near Laguna Canyon Road. At about 12:30 p.m., a black GMC Suburban reportedly ran into the vehicle being driven by 40 year-old Annette Argo, with two of her children on board, causing the Argo vehicle to crash into a ditch. The SUV driver apparently fled the scene without rendering aid or calling for assistance. Ava Argo, just 4 years old, suffered severe injuries and was admitted to the intensive care unit of a local hospital. Last week, doctors spent nine hours operating on her to fix her jaw, upper palette, eye sockets and nose. She also underwent a tracheotomy, but it will be another week before doctors can un-wire her jaw. Ava’s 9 year-old brother, Gaven, suffered a broken clavicle but has been released from the hospital. Annette sustained very serious injuries to her right leg, and she remains hospitalized.
Ava’s father, Robert O’Connor, and his wife, Erica, are now offering a $10,000.00 reward to anyone who provides information leading to the arrest and conviction of the hit-and-run driver.
See the KTLA news story and photographs HERE.
While the precise circumstances of how the accident occurred were not released in this news story, the actions of the hit-and-run driver would seem to reflect consciousness of guilt. Why would anyone flee the scene after being involved in such a horrific accident unless they were trying to avoid criminal and civil responsibility? Simply stated, under California law the flight of a person immediately after the commission of a crime is not sufficient in itself to establish guilt, but it is a fact which, if proved, the jury may consider in deciding a defendant’s guilt or innocence. Here, evidence of the SUV driver’s flight would seem particularly compelling evidence since he would have had at least two reasons not to leave the scene: (1) to comply with the law requiring he stay, and (2) to render aid to those in the Argo vehicle who could easily have been, and actually were, badly injured. In the context of a civil case, the hit-and-run driver’s responsibility would not have to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, but only established by a preponderance of the evidence, that featherweight of evidence tending to prove negligence.
Compensation for the victims of hit and run accidents should be an important concern for all Californians. When a driver negligently or intentionally causes a serious injury accident and then flees the scene, they should be held criminally and civilly responsible. An Orange County personal injury attorney with experience at handling such cases can make a fair assessment of these claims. The first step in recovering compensation for the victim is to seek appropriate representation. Mr. Ralph has 20 years years of experience handling personal injury and automobile accident cases, including just this type. He can be reached at 714-919-4415 for a FREE CONSULTATION.
Have you or a loved one been injured in a hit-and-run automobile accident?
- Nothing in this post is intended to suggest the Law Offices of Paul W. Ralph currently represents anyone involved in the news story above. This posting should not be construed as legal advice or an opinion on the merit of any particular matter. A consultation is the best way to obtain an assessment of your potential case.