Five individuals found themselves trapped inside a burning limousine one night while driving on San Mateo-Hayward Bridge, in California. The limo was filled with friends in their thirties and forties who were gathered for a passenger’s bridal shower celebration. The party was destined for Foster City’s Crowne Plaza Hotel.
Upon a bump in the ride, some of the women inside the vehicle began to observe black smoke and tried to get the driver’s attention by banging on the window. Screams and raging fire filled the tense atmosphere as the passengers tried desperately to move away from the back of the vehicle that was on fire. Four fortunate passengers were able to get through an opening in the partition in order to get outside. Yet, five female victims died from smoke inhalation because they could not open the locked doors.
Multiple emergency calls were made by the suffering victims. There were also attempts by outsiders to save the five women who were trapped inside the vehicle, but reports indicate that the rear of the limo was completely overcome with fire. If a door was finally able to be opened, flames shot out which prevented any escape. There were also reports that the limo driver did not attempt to open the doors in time.
Apparently, the fire originated from the suspension device located in the back of the vehicle. A mechanical error caused the driveshaft to touch the floor, lighting the carpet on fire. The California Highway Patrol evaluated the scene and surrounding circumstances. It was reported that the accident was an unforeseeable accident. The driver was not criminally charged, but was given a hefty fine. Apparently, the limo was over the maximum occupant capacity, as reported by the “California Public Utilities Commission’s” (CPUC) safety division. The maximum was eight passengers, but the limo driver allowed nine. This company commonly carried up to ten passengers in the last few years.
Many legal questions arose from this set of tragic circumstances. One safety representative asked, “why does a limousine have so many flammable materials in it?” According to the “National Highway Traffic Safety Administration,” limo accidents resulting in death are exceptionally uncommon. The other facts of this accident prompt the inquiry of whether the limousine driver was properly trained for emergency situations or whether the limo’s lock system malfunctioned.
If you were injured in a limousine accident in Northern or Southern California, the law firm of J&Y can analyze the surrounding circumstances of the case and help you obtain the compensation you deserve.