November 29, 2009: 57-year-old Angelo Vacca, Jr. was in the area of 887 Forest Avenue and was crossing the road when 74-year-old Chan Ng, also of Portland, hit him with a red 2000 Chevrolet Cavalier. Police say Vacca was transported to Maine Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.
This matter is under investigation. Based on our firm’s experience in handling similar cases, the investigation will undoubtedly look into what the lighting conditions were, whether Mr. Ng was paying proper attention to the road, and whether Mr. Ng was under the influence of any alcohol or substances that would have impaired his ability to see Mr. Vacca in the road and/or delayed his reaction time. In past cases we have successfully settled on behalf of clients, we have uncovered information about drivers being on cellphones immediately prior to the collision by obtaining copies of their cellphone records.
Because this case involved a fatality, police officials will undoubtedly conduct tests to determine whether Mr. Ng was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the collision. Although not part of standard police investigations, it is suggested that information about Mr. Ng’s vision be obtained. We found in one case where a driver claimed to be unable to see a pedestrian at night that the driver had not had his eyes examined for years and, following a court-ordered examination, was found to have poor nighttime vision. This information resulted in a favorable settlement of the case for our client.
In past nighttime pedestrian collision cases our firm has also conducted field studies under similar conditions using a vehicle identical to the one operated by the driver and placing a pedestrian in the roadway wearing near-identical clothing to determine the precise point in time when the pedestrian would have been visible to the driver. In one recent case, this type of field investigation revealed that the driver could easily have seen the pedestrian and had ample time to avoid the collision, despite his and his insurance company’s claim that the accident was unavoidable.