Back in Jan 20, 2009, Anna Reznik, 69 and a former resident of Gilroy, CA, was driving on Hwy 101 in Monterey County when she was involved in a deadly car accident.
Her passenger was 91-year old Olga Tarcher, who was being cared for full-time by Reznik. They were heading south and Reznik had to hit the brakes when another driver suddenly pulled out ahead and tried to turn left at the intersection near the Red Barn flea market. Reznik's car could not be stopped in time and plowed into Yong Ae Bowman, the driver in the car ahead.
The accident left both Reznik and Bowman injured, and Olga Tarcher died at the accident scene itself. Bowman later died due to unrelated issues.
Reznik has been in a wheelchair for several years and is now trying to get around with a quad-cane. She filed suit against Bowman for driver negligence, and against Monterey County and the California Department of Transportation (CALTRANS) for the unsafe road conditions.
The traffic moves at a high speed on Highway 101, and those who want to turn left here find it hard because of the heavy flow of traffic. Reznik's lawyer alleged that CALTRANS had known for years how dangerous the intersection was, but did nothing to rectify it despite a spate of accidents at the same spot.
There have been 22 accidents at the San Juan intersection in the last 2 years, and CALTRANS now says that there will be an overpass here by 2014. The delay is apparently because this is not among the top five most dangerous intersections on the section of US 101 near the Red Barn flea market.
CALTRANS ended up paying Reznik $3.75 million for keeping the intersection open to left turns across the high-speed traffic. Bowman is dead, but her estate is paying over $600,000 for her error in judgment while making the turn. Monterey County paid almost $200,000 for the delay in funding an overpass project for this intersection.