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Runaway Truck Causes Second Tragedy for Rouda Feder Tietjen & McGuinn Clients


Rouda Feder Tietjen & McGuinn Partner Cynthia McGuinn was recently quoted in the news in connection to an update on a tragic auto accident case that occurred in Santa Rosa in early February. Partner McGuinn and our personal injury legal team are representing 76-year-old Barbara Schmidt, who was catastrophically injured in the crash, and her wife. Just four months prior to the crash the couple had lost their home to the fires that raged through Sonoma County.

That terrible tragedy was compounded in February when a dump truck hauling a load of debris from those very fires lost control at high speed and crashed into Barbara’s pickup and other vehicles, causing a fiery collision. Three of seven victims harmed in the crash were critically injured, including our client Barbara, who suffered extensive internal injuries and is now paraplegic. She currently lives in a long-term rehabilitation facility but has had to be re-hospitalized a number of times as a result of ongoing complications connected to her injuries.

The catastrophic crash again has upended the lives of Barbara, her wife, and their daughter, who were rebuilding their lives in the wake of losing their home in the Tubbs fire. Barbara now faces considerable physical, financial, and emotional setbacks. Her life is profoundly altered by her permanent and disabling injuries which will require lifetime care and support.

We believe that our client’s fight for justice is aided by the recently released police report which describes their investigation of the crash in their conclusion about its cause. The report demonstrates that the collision could and should have been avoided. Specifically, law enforcement investigators note that three of eight sets of brakes on the dump truck were measured out of adjustment, that the driver admitted to skipping a vehicle inspection and adjustment, and that he committed a vehicle code violation for failing to ensure the brakes were in proper working order.

As Cynthia notes, the report is crucial to showing not only that the dump truck company and others involved in its operation prioritized profits and expediency rather than safety, but also to alerting members of the public who have a right to know that faulty trucks are being driven around their communities. The report will also serve as vital evidence in helping Barbara and her family recover the financial compensation needed to cover their damages, including medical expenses, future needs, and their emotional suffering.

Cynthia, a proven trial lawyer who has secured record-setting verdicts in Sonoma County, intends to fight aggressively on behalf of our client and her family as we pursue the justice and compensation they deserve. To learn more about the details of the crash and Cynthia’s comments, visit this article or watch this ABC 7 video. If you have any information concerning this event or the condition of the intersection where this occurred, please contact us.