Guilty Plea in Fatal Hit-And-Run: The Aftermath of a Pedestrian Fatality

At the Brod Law Firm, we are attorneys for Oakland car accident victims. We represent individuals injured in Oakland car crashes and those who lose a loved one in an automobile crash throughout Northern California. Sadly, car crashes continue to impact the lives of too many innocent residents of our region. The Oakland Tribune reported on one such tragedy this week bringing attention to the sad truth that automobile accidents remain a serious danger.

ped%20sign.pngThe Tribune report focused on the criminal trial of a San Bruno driver who pled guilty this week to a fatal hit-and-run. It was 1:35AM on February 20 when twenty-eight year old Scott Garrigan was killed while crossing Skyline Boulevard near Sharp Park Road. Leonard Nierras Tobilla, 58, hit Garrigan and then left the scene. Tobilla did not pull over and did not immediately call the police but did call his insurance company when he arrived home. The company advised him to return to the scene and Tobilla turned himself into authorities about 40 minutes later. His blood alcohol level was elevated at .06 but was below the legal limit of .08. The initial charges included a DUI count which was later changed to reckless driving involving alcohol. A second driver also hit Garrigan after the first crash, fleeing the scene and turning himself in four days later. This driver was not charged with a crime although it is not clear which impact caused the fatality. Reports indicate that the area was dark with no crosswalk in the vicinity and that the victim had a .23 blood alcohol level at the time of his death.

Statistics compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that the number of pedestrian fatalities in vehicle accidents declined steadily between 2005 and 2009. Despite our driving-centered culture, California’s overall pedestrian fatality rate (fatal accidents per 100,000 population) is lower than the national average. While these numbers show positive trends and show that most Californians are responsible drivers, every fatality represents a very real individual and every fatal accident is a tragedy. These numbers also do not include accidents resulting in non-fatal injury to pedestrians, accidents that are significantly more common. Non-fatal pedestrian accidents can have a very real, and sometimes quite severe, impact on the victim.

The days following any automobile accident are difficult. The period after a fatal pedestrian crash are emotional for the family of the deceased. A non-fatal is often followed by a difficult medical journey to recover as well as emotional trauma for the victim. Although a criminal investigation will be initiated by police and the district attorney, reaching out to an experienced Oakland lawyer for car accident victims is crucial. The civil system can help victims or surviving loved ones recover damages for their losses, something that cannot occur in criminal court.

Seeking compensation after an accident is NOT about greed. It is about obtaining the compensation that the law provides, compensation that can help an injured pedestrian or the surviving loved ones of a deceased victim begin the journey of recovery. We are proud Oakland personal injury attorneys because we believe in helping victims recover. The Brod Law Firm does this work because our hearts go out to victims, like the loved ones Garrigan left behind. We want to help and we can help, but only if the victim’s reach out to us. If you or a loved one was the victim of a car crash, please contact us for a free consultation. Most of these cases are handled on a contingency basis so you will not pay attorney’s fees unless we successfully help you recover.

See Related Blog Posts:
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The Most Dangerous Places for Pedestrians in San Francisco