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Los Angeles County fatal bike accident case takes new turn

Discovery is a legal process that occurs before a trial begins. This allows parties on both sides of a dispute to know what evidence and witnesses are likely to be presented during a trial. The exchange of relevant case facts prevents unexpected disclosures during the trial.

The family of a high-ranking Napster executive, who died in a bicycle accident in December, is hoping the discovery process during a wrongful death lawsuit will provide answers. The family wants to know more about the police car that struck the bicyclist and information from the fatal accident scene. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department apparently has not complied with the family's requests.

The 65-year-old Napster official was biking in Calabasas, when the biker was rear-ended by a police patrol car and thrown into the air. The bicyclist's official cause of death was blunt force trauma. Witnesses stated the sheriff's deputy drove directly into the bike rider, apparently without hitting the patrol car's brakes.

New information in the case recently became public after a county detective obtained the deputy's cellphone records. The investigator learned the patrol officer sent half a dozen text messages leading up to the accident. The detective believes the deputy was distracted either by the car's onboard computer or a cellphone.

The bicyclist's family is interested in knowing the contents of the patrol car's black box and details concerning measurements retrieved during the investigation. The deputy still works for Los Angeles County, although he no longer is assigned to patrols. The case is now in the district attorney's hands.

Texting and driving motorists drive essentially cut off from everything that doesn't include the devices before them. During those few seconds, anyone in those drivers' paths is in danger. The dismissal of others' safety on the road is negligence – careless behavior that leads to unnecessary injuries and fatalities and often jury awards for harmed survivors.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "Deputy was texting before fatally hitting ex-Napster exec on bike" Debbie Truong, Aug. 07, 2014 

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