Southern California sees plenty of serious auto accidents, but few accident scenarios are more tragic than those that result in the death of a child. Late last month, a 4-year-old girl in Rancho Cucamonga was killed in a crash between a motorcycle that she was a passenger on and a semi truck. The motorcycle accident appears to have been caused by the driver of the semi.

According to news sources, the little girl was out for a ride on the back of a motorcycle operated by a non-relative adult; possibly a family friend. The motorcycle was heading east alongside a big rig traveling in the same direction. Suddenly, the semi made a left turn directly in front of the motorcycle.

This caused the initial collision, but the accident soon got worse. The driver of the semi apparently didn’t notice the motorcyclist, and so he continued to alternate between going forward and in reverse as he tried to navigate the left turn.

The adult operating the Harley Davidson suffered injuries, but his 4-year-old passenger died at the scene. She was wearing a helmet, and one bystander said she probably would have survived if the semi driver hadn’t kept backing up and going forward.

Within days of the fatal crash, local motorcycle groups and others had set up fundraising events to aid the little girl’s family. They know, perhaps better than anyone else, just how dangerous Southern California roads can be for motorcyclists.

There are times when auto accidents are simply unavoidable, but that seems unlikely in this case. Truck drivers have a responsibility to be aware of their surroundings at all times and to keep an eye out for small vehicles near them. In light of this, the girl’s family may wish to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit.

Source: NBC Los Angeles, “Fundraiser Set for 4-Year-Old Motorcycle Crash Victim,” Brandon Lowrey, Aug. 29, 2013