broken rear view mirror

The deadliest car accidents in California of 2023

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

In this article, we aim to highlight some of the most tragic road incidents that shook the state of California in the past year, drawing attention to the often-overlooked realities and lessons that emerge from these devastating events. 

As legal professionals deeply entrenched in the fabric of California’s bustling and diverse communities, we at J&Y Law Firm have witnessed the far-reaching impacts of fatal car accidents. The year 2023 was marked by tens of thousands of injuries, each carrying its own story of loss, resilience, and a call for action. These accidents are not mere statistics; they represent families torn apart, dreams unfulfilled, and communities left grappling with grief and questions.

Through this article, we delve into the details of the deadliest car accidents that occurred across California in 2023. Our aim is to go beyond the numbers and headlines, offering a deeper understanding of the circumstances leading up to these tragedies. From high-speed collisions to unfortunate incidents involving impaired or distracted driving, we explore the various factors that contribute to fatal car accidents.

Moreover, this article serves as a platform for advocating for safer roads and responsible driving practices. It’s a call to every driver, policy-maker, and community member to join hands in reducing the frequency and severity of such accidents. As we navigate through these heartbreaking stories, we also highlight the importance of legal recourse and support for the victims’ families.

At J&Y Law Firm, we believe in the power of awareness and education in preventing future tragedies. If you have been affected by a car accident, or if you’re simply a concerned citizen, we hope this article provides valuable insights and encourages a collective effort towards safer roadways in California.

California car accident statistics

To help set the stage, it is important to get a general understanding of how big of a problem car accidents actually are with some selected data points to consider.

  • Car accidents are the number one cause of preventable injuries and deaths in the United States
  • As of 2021 there are 14,268,528 vehicles registered in California
  • In 2019 there were 269,031 people injured in car accidents in California
  • In 2019 there were​ 187,211 car accidents that resulted in injuries in California
  • In 2021 there were 4,285 traffic fatalities in California
  • In 2021 there were 1,370 Alcohol-impaired driving fatalities in California

In almost every instance, deaths from a car accident can be avoided, as we will demonstrate in the next section where we will catalog some of the most destructive car accidents that took place in California in 2023 to showcase the reasons behind fatal car accidents and how to avoid them.

The deadliest car accidents in California of 2023

5 killed in single-car crash on Long Beach, CA Freeway

5 killed in fiery crash in long beach california in 2023

June 26, 2023 LONG BEACH, CA – Five people were killed and a sixth suffered major injuries after a 2011 Hyundai sedan they were traveling in crashed and burst into flames on Monday morning, June 26, 2023, on the 710 Freeway in Long Beach, authorities said. California Highway Patrol officers received calls of the crash just before 4:15 a.m. in the northbound lanes just south of the 91 Freeway, Officer Michael Nasir said. The Long Beach Fire Department put out the fire and found the five people dead inside the car, Nasir said. The sixth occupant was hospitalized, CHP Officer Angelia Gonzales said, with that person’s condition unknown. Dashcam video shows the car slamming into “attenuators,” plastic cylinders that somewhat give way so vehicles don’t directly hit a barrier, dividing the 710 and the transition road to the eastbound 91. Investigators learned that the car veered to the right before the crash for unknown reasons, Gonzales said. Investigators were searching for surveillance video to determine where the car entered the freeway. The CHP said the deceased occupants included a man, a woman and a boy; the other two were only identified as adults. The injured passenger was a man. At least four of the occupants apparently were not wearing seat belts, a CHP news release said. “We express our sorrows to the families of the deceased,” Gonzales said. “We still continue to investigate in hopes of providing answers for those families.” (source)

4 young CA women killed by BMW driver going 104 mph

four young women were killed by a bmw going 104 miles per hour

October 17, 2023 MALIBU, CA – Pepperdine University has said that four of its students were killed standing near the highway in Malibu, California. The four women were on the side of the Pacific Coast Highway around 8:30 p.m. when a 22-year-old driver lost control of his BMW, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said. The BMW crashed into three parked vehicles the women were standing between. The women, later identified by the university as seniors Niamh Rolston, Peyton Stewart, Asha Weir and Deslyn Williams, were pronounced dead at the scene, officials said. Malibu resident Fraser Michael Bohm was arrested and accused of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence, sheriff’s Capt. Jennifer Seetoo said at a news conference. He had minor injuries and was temporarily released as the investigation was being conducted. A week later the district attorney accused him of speeding at 104 mph before the deadly crash. Fraser Michael Bohm, 22, of Malibu, was re-arrested Tuesday and is charged with four counts of murder and four counts of gross vehicular manslaughter in the crash Oct. 17 on scenic Pacific Coast Highway, officials said. “We lost four young people with a complete life ahead of them — for really no reason other than complete and reckless disregard for the life of others,” Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón said at a news conference. Bohm pleaded not guilty in court, and a preliminary hearing was scheduled for Dec. 15. His attorney, Michael Kraut, said there is evidence that Bohm was fleeing a road-rage incident before the crash. “This person chased him and tried to push him off the side of the road,” Kraut told reporters outside court. “And when he accelerated to get away from him, that’s when the accident occurred.” Kraut said that the crash was tragic and that the Bohm family “feels horrible that this happened.” Gascón said that the case remains under investigation and that authorities look forward to any additional information, “but as it stands today, we have the information that we have, and it’s very conclusive as to what we believe happened.” The sheriff’s department said Bohm was initially arrested on a charge of gross vehicular manslaughter, but he was released “to allow detectives time to gather the evidence needed to secure the strongest criminal filing and conviction.” The sheriff’s department later said the driver was arrested on the four murder counts after investigators collected toxicology results, search warrants, a speed analysis and other evidence. Bohm’s bail had initially been set at $8 million, but a judge lowered it to $4 million, the district attorney’s office said. If he is convicted, he could face multiple life sentences, the DA’s office said. (source)

4 dead after head-on collision in Kern County, CA

kern county california sheriff coroner sign

December 29, 2023 GARLOCK, CA – First responders were called to the scene of a fatal traffic accident Friday night, Dec. 29, at 8:50 p.m. on State Route 14 and Redrock Garlock Road between Red Rock and Jawbone Canyons. According to an early report on the California Highway Patrol website, two vehicles were involved in a head-on collision resulting in one of the vehicles rolling over and catching fire. Four individuals are confirmed dead. According to a CHP news release, all four were not from Kern County. One other victim was airlifted out with major injuries. The Kern County Coroner’s Office identified the four victims as 23-year-old Taylor Camille Romine, 27-year-old Rami Abdulrazak, 56-year-old Ronald Eric Dene, and 61-year-old Gregg Ray Sauer. CHP said on Dec. 29, 2023, around 8:41 pm, Gregg Ray Sauer of Lancaster was driving a Mercedes southbound on Highway 14, south of Horse Canyon Road, while at the same time, Taylor Camille Romine of Huntington Beach was driving a Jeep northbound on Highway 14, south of Horse Canyon Road. CHP said Sauer tried to pass a slower-moving vehicle in the northbound lane and crashed head-on with the Jeep. Sauer and his passenger, identified as Ronald Eric Dene of Los Angeles, died. Two of the three people inside the Jeep also died. They were identified as Romine and Rami Abdulrazak of Yorba Linda. The only survivor, a 24-year-old passenger in the Jeep, was taken to Antelope Valley Medical Center with major injuries. The cause of the crash is under investigation. It’s unknown at this time if alcohol or drugs are factors in the crash. GoFundMe accounts were made for several of the victims. (source, source)

4 killed in San Diego crash on Thanksgiving

four people killed in crash on sr-94

November 23, 2023 SAN DIEGO, CA – Four people were killed in a crash on State Route 94 in Mount Hope Thursday morning, California Highway Patrol confirmed. First responders, including San Diego Police, San Diego Fire-Rescue and CHP, were dispatched to the scene around 2:30 a.m. The incident occurred eastbound near Home Avenue, prompting authorities to close the freeway and divert traffic to Interstate 15 south for several hours. Caltrans has since reopened all lanes. The section of the 94 freeway where the accident happened dips down underneath an overpass. A mangled up black car and debris could be seen in the area. According to CHP, a 26-year-old man driving a black BMW M3 was traveling at a high rate of speed when, for reasons still under investigation, he lost control of the vehicle. The BMW overturned, causing the driver and three passengers to be ejected. The passengers — a 35-year-old man from Chula Vista, a 33-year-old woman from an unknown city, and a 20-year-old woman from National City — sustained major injuries, along with the driver. All four of them were pronounced dead at the scene, authorities confirmed. The identities of the deceased were originally withheld pending notification of the next of kin, but the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office later identified the victims as 26-year-old Jonathan Torres; Linet Manasyan, 33 of Imperial Beach; Nelly Tamara Espinoza, 20 of National City; and Ivan Aniceto Torres, 35 of Chula Vista. No city of residence was listed for Jonathan Torres. The right front passenger, a 22-year-old woman from San Marcos, was wearing her seatbelt and sustained minor injuries, CHP said. She was transported to a local hospital. The Medical Examiner’s Office didn’t state a cause of death for the four victims, but described them as being “unrestrained” occupants. A toxicology report is pending through the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s office to determine if alcohol and/or drugs were a factor in this crash. The cause of this crash and sequence of events leading up to the incident are under investigation by CHP. (source, source)

4 marines killed in fiery wreck south of LA

four marines killed in fiery wreck south of LA

June 24, 2023 DOWNEY, CA – Three United States Marines stationed at Camp Pendleton were among four people killed in a violent and fiery car crash on a California highway early Saturday. The single-car crash occurred around 2:30 a.m. on the 5 Freeway near Lakewood Boulevard in Downey. The California Highway Patrol said a 2018 Dodge Charger the victims were driving collided with a guardrail and the abutment of a pedestrian overpass. The driver appeared to have lost control of the car while traveling at “a high rate of speed,” according to officials. “The force of the impact caused the vehicle to split in two, subsequently ejecting the two rear passengers onto the right shoulder,” CHP said in a statement. “The driver and front passenger remained inside the front portion of the vehicle which became fully engulfed in flames against the sound barrier wall.” Authorities said the ruined front and rear ends of the car were found overturned about 100 feet apart on the highway. Los Angeles County Medical Examiner Coroner records identified the deceased as Rodrigro Zermeno Gomez, 21, Daniel Nichols, 26, and Joshua Leandra Moore, 27. The Marine Corps confirmed the three victims were Marines stationed at the California base, which is located about halfway between San Diego and Los Angeles. Officials said two of the deceased were assigned to Combat Logistics Regiment 1, 1st Marine Logistics Group, I Marine Expeditionary Force, according to KABC. The third belonged to the 5th Marine Expeditionary Unit, I Marine Expeditionary Force. As the wreckage burned on the highway shoulder, police and fire crews arrived to douse the flames. All four were pronounced dead at the scene. The fourth victim was originally unidentified, but was later identified as a Marine serving at Camp Pendleton, California, Corps officials confirmed. Base press officials say the fourth victim, Sgt. Jose Martinez, worked as a small arms technician for Combat Logistics Regiment 1, 1st Marine Logistics Group. (source, source)

4 Killed in Wrong-Way Crash in Chino Hills, CA

four killed in wrong way crash in chino hills california 71 freeway

March 19, 2023 CHINO HILLS, CA – Four people were killed on a Southern California freeway early Sunday in a fiery crash that authorities said was likely caused by a wrong-way driver. The crash was reported before 3 a.m. on the southbound 71 Freeway near Central Avenue in Chino Hills. Four people died at the scene in southwest San Bernardino County. According to police, the crash involved three vehicles. They say an unidentified driver was driving a white 2021 Volvo S60 going northbound on the southbound 71 Freeway lanes. The vehicle was also occupied by an unidentified passenger as well. It is unknown what speed the driver was going. The white Volvo collided head on with a Black 2018 Volvo S90 that was driving southbound. The black Volo was driven by a man and had a woman passenger. After the collision both vehicles spinned and made contact with other vehicles nearby. The occupants of the black and white Volvo’s were pronounced dead at the scene. The southbound 71 Freeway remains closed until further notice.  Details about the identities of the deceased were not immediately available. (source)

5 dead in 4 separate crashes on same day in SF Bay Area

deadly crashes around the bay area overnight in 2023

August 27, 2023 SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Five people died in four separate crashes across the Bay Area early Sunday morning, according to California Highway Patrol. The first involved a car hitting a pedestrian in San Francisco. It happened just before 2:30 a.m. on southbound Interstate 280 and just north of Highway 101, said CHP. The pedestrian died on-site, according to CHP, and the driver is cooperating with the agency. The second was a car crash in Dublin, which happened just after 2:30 a.m. near Eden Canyon Road. One person was killed in the crash. Further details weren’t immediately available. CHP said the third crash happened just before 3 a.m., again in San Francisco. The head-on collision happened on northbound 101, just south of I-280 and Silver Avenue. Two people died as a result, according to CHP. The final crash happened in San Mateo on southbound I-280 and under the Highway 92 overpass, also at around 3 a.m. CHP said it started when a black SUV, for an unknown reason, crashed into a concrete pillar and was left stretched across two lanes. A second car then crashed into it. The driver in the black SUV died, although whether as a result of the first or second collision is unclear, and the passenger in the other car was taken to the hospital for a pain complaint, according to CHP. (source)

3 killed, 5 injured in crash in Pleasanton, CA

two dead six hurt in steep drop crash in pleasanton california in 2023

December 18, 2023 PLEASANTON, CA – Three people were killed and five others, including two infants, were injured in a crash Monday afternoon on Interstate 680 in Pleasanton, the California Highway Patrol said. Authorities did not immediately release the names of those killed pending notification of their relatives. The solo-vehicle collision was reported around 2:35 p.m. on southbound I-680 at the Sunol Boulevard off-ramp, according to CHP dispatch logs. A 2004 Honda Pilot SUV left the roadway and hit a tree, CHP Officer Tyler Hahn told the Bay Area News Group. The man driving the Honda told investigators he was going about 65 mph when there was a blowout to the right rear tire, Hahn said. The Honda veered to the left; after briefly riding up a wall, the driver said he lost control and the Honda veered back to the right, crossing all traffic lanes before briefly becoming airborne and broadsiding a tree along the right shoulder, Hahn said. Two adults were pronounced dead at the scene, Hahn said. One was ejected out the rear window and the other was in a rear seat.  The CHP said both were not wearing seat belts. A woman who was in a rear seat died later at a hospital, the CHP said Tuesday. It was not clear Tuesday if that person had been wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash. The driver and two infants were taken to a hospital for treatment of minor injuries Their ages were not immediately available. Two other passengers were also hospitalized. Alcohol and drugs are not suspected as factors in the crash, the CHP said. The CHP issued a Sig-alert shortly after the crash, with traffic being affected for several hours as rescue crews and investigators worked the scene. The CHP investigation is continuing. (source)

Call an experienced Los Angeles Car Accident Lawyer

graphic showing a car crash in california during sunset

As we conclude our in-depth exploration of “The Deadliest Car Accidents in California of 2023,” it becomes evident that each of these tragedies not only signifies a moment of loss but also serves as a crucial reminder of the ongoing need for vigilance and safety on our roads. At J&Y Law Firm, our commitment goes beyond the courtroom; we are dedicated to being a part of the solution in making California’s roads safer for everyone. We understand the pain and disruption caused by such devastating events, and our hearts go out to all those who have been affected.

If you or someone you love has been involved in a car accident, remember that you are not alone. Navigating the aftermath of an accident can be overwhelming, but you don’t have to face it by yourself. Our experienced team at J&Y Law Firm is here to offer the support, guidance, and legal expertise you need. We are committed to helping you find justice and peace of mind during these challenging times.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to us at 310-774-0778 for a consultation. Whether it’s seeking compensation for damages, understanding your legal rights, or simply needing someone to listen, we are here for you. Together, we can work towards a future where such tragedies are less frequent and the roads are a safer place for everyone.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.