California State Agency Found Liable for “Serious and Wilful” Misconduct in Relation to Deadly Fresno Area Crash

According to reporting from The Fresno Bee, a California state agency has been found liable for ‘serious and wilful’ misconduct in relation to a tragic Fresno-area motor vehicle accident that killed four people. California Conservation Corps (CCC) reportedly ignored several major warning signs prior to the catastrophic wreck. In this blog post, our Fresno workers’ compensation attorney provides an overview of the tragic accident and the finding of serious and wilful misconduct. 

Four Young People Killed Because of a Horrific 2016 Van Crash Near Reedley

In the early morning hours of February 2nd, 2016, a van carrying several members of the California Conservation Corps (CCC) stopped at an intersection just outside of the town of Reedley, in a rural part of Fresno County. The van rolled into an intersection and was broadsided by a fully loaded tractor trailer. Tragically, three young people were pronounced dead in the crash. A fourth person later succumbed to his injuries. The driver, a 20-year-old employee of the CCC, was initially found to be at fault for the deadly accident. However, as the years have passed, a more detailed investigation has found serious misconduct by the CCC. 

Finding: CCC Ignored Serious Safety Issue, Put Young Workers at Risk 

The California Conservation Corps (CCC) is a department of the state government. It offers paid positions for young adults between the ages of 18 and 25, with a focus on finding them opportunities to help their community. Unfortunately, in this case, it is now clear that the CCC failed its young employees. A judge has ruled that the “serious and wilful” misconduct by the CCC contributed to the deadly van accident. Here are three specific issues raised in the case: 

  • Driver had a History of Carelessness: The judge found that safety complaints had already been raised about the 20-year-old driver who was deemed at fault for the accident. The CCC was aware of the complaints, but failed to take any action. 
  • Van Lacked Proper Working Seatbelts: The van had 15 total seats. Only four of those five seats had working seatbelts at the time of the crash. California law requires employers to ensure that there are adequate working seatbelts in work-related vehicles. It could have made a difference in the crash. 
  • False Information Submitted by CCC: The CCC had paperwork on record certifying that all of the seatbelts were working. This was false. An employee admitted to submitting the false safety paperwork. As noted previously, most of the van’s safety belts did not work properly at the time of the wreck. 

Call Our Fresno, CA WorkersCompensation Attorney Today

Joseph C. Yrulegui is an experienced, reliable advocate for injured workers. If you or your family member suffered an injury due to serious and wilful misconduct by an employer, we are more than ready to protect your legal rights. Contact us today to arrange a confidential, comprehensive initial consultation. We provide legal representation throughout Fresno County, including in Fresno, Clovis, Reedley, Sanger, Parlier, Kurman, Kingsburg, and Coalinga.