Huerta v. City of Santa AnaAnnotate this Case
Cynthia Huerta, Maria De Jesus Gonzalez and Andres Gonzalez were the parents of three girls who were tragically killed on Halloween night in 2014 when they were struck by a speeding motorist while they were crossing the street in a marked crosswalk. The driver fled the scene. He was later arrested and pleaded guilty to felony vehicular manslaughter. Huerta and the Gonzalezes sued the City of Santa Ana (the City), alleging a cause of action for damages based on a claim that the crosswalk constituted a “dangerous condition of public property” pursuant to Government Code sections 835 and 835.2. They contended the trial court erred by granting summary judgment in favor of the City, arguing there were triable issues of fact related to whether the crosswalk qualified as “a dangerous condition of public property” and whether the City had notice of that dangerous condition before this accident. After review, the Court of Appeal could not find a “dangerous condition of public property” or any “peculiar condition” that would trigger an obligation by the City to modify its street lighting at the accident scene. Moreover, it was undisputed that the driver who hit the girls was exceeding the posted speed limit, and therefore the speed limit was not a proximate cause of these tragic deaths. The Court therefore affirmed judgment in favor of the City.