BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — A collision between a wheel loader and car that resulted in the deaths of two children, ages 10 and 11, is now the subject of a wrongful death lawsuit against an oil company.
The suit alleges negligence on the part of Gary Knox Dozier, employed by Bellaire Oil Company, in the May 10 crash on James Road between Airport Drive and Highway 65. Dozier drove the piece of heavy equipment.
The car was driven by a 14-year-old, and a fourth occupant of the vehicle was 9. The four were siblings, the suit says.
Attorney Joel T. Andreesen, of Rodriguez & Associates, representing the children’s parents, said their investigation revealed the wheel loader caused the crash by not stopping before crossing south, directly in the path of traffic.
“It’s really a sad situation for the family,” he said.
A call to Bellaire’s Highway 65 location was immediately disconnected when a 17 News reporter identified himself. A message left afterward was not returned.
The children’s car, headed west on James Road, attempted to swerve left but its right side hit the loader’s bucket, killing the passengers on that side. Their names have not been made public.
The teen and other surviving occupant suffered head injuries and possible traumatic brain injuries, Andreesen said.
Although below the legal driving age, the 14-year-old was not at fault, the attorney said. There’s no evidence he sped or drove in an erratic manner, he added.
Andreesen said multiple witnesses reported the loader entered the roadway without warning. A motorist headed east said he swerved to avoid a collision, and a driver traveling behind the children’s vehicle also said the loader failed to stop.
Dozier was uninjured and remained at the scene, according to the California Highway Patrol. Neither drugs nor alcohol appeared to be factors.
A court hearing has been set for November, during which a trial date is expected to be scheduled.