PHELAN, SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY (June 24, 2014) – A Tuesday night crash involving a dump truck and car has left two teenage passengers dead. The passengers were identified as Victorville resident, 18 year old Nicole Brittney Lyle and 16 year old Phelan resident John Anthony Cabrera Jr.
The teens were passengers in a blue Chrysler PT Cruiser on their way back from spending a day in Huntington Beach. The PT Cruiser was westbound on Highway 138 when it was struck by a Peterbilt dump truck carrying wet cement. According to officers, the truck ran a stop sign as it was exiting the Interstate 15. Exactly why the truck driver lost control is not known. The accident happened at 11:4o p.m. Three other occupants in the PT Cruiser were injured. Shane Gretzner, 19 years old, was later identified as one of the occupants.
The teens were students at Serrano High School. Hundreds attended a Wednesday night vigil at the school to remember them.
The crash was reported at 11:41 p.m. on the southbound 15 Freeway at the Highway 138 off-ramp, the California Highway Patrol said.
The driver of the Peterbilt dump truck will be held responsible for the wrongful death of Nicole Lyle and John Cabrera.
In cases involving the wrongful death of a minor child, the proper amount of damages recoverable has been the subject of much litigation. Typically, the results for wrongful death of a child are large because juries can take in to account the life expectancy of the child had they survived. California Code of Civil Procedure section 377 allows the parents of the a deceased child to bring a lawsuit. The law requires all the heirs (in this case Nicole and John’s parents) entitled to bring a wrongful death action to bring the action together. However, they can have different attorneys representing them.
California courts have defined wrongful death damages to include the value of future financial contributions from the decedent to the heirs and the value of any personal service, advice or training that would have probably been given. This is determined by projecting the amount of money the decedent would have earned in the future. Most important, damages also include compensation for loss suffered by the heirs of love, comfort, affection, society, and moral support.
Our deepest condolences to the families of Nicole Lyle and John Cabrera Jr. for their untimely death.