Cyclist’s family sues over fatal crash

July 27, 2014

lawsuitThe family of a San Luis Obispo man who died after crashing his bicycle into a Toyoto Tundra in 2012 is suing the driver of the Tundra and the winery he was working for, according to a lawsuit filed Thursday. [Tribune]

On July 28, 2012, Blaine Errea, 42, was riding his bike on state Route 227 south of the Cold Canyon Landfill when a Toyota Tundra driven by George Donati approached going about 45 mph. Both men attempted to avoid the other, but Errea lost control of his bike, collided with Donati and was thrown from his bicycle.

Errea, who was not wearing a helmet, died from his injuries on Aug. 10.

The lawsuit filed by Errea’s wife Victoria Errea and their two minor children, claims Donati’s negligent driving caused the accident and Errea’s death. The complaint lists Donati, Pacific Vineyard and Paragon Vineyard as defendants in the suit. Donati is the general manager the Pacific Vineyard Company.


From what I have read, it was the cyclist that crashed into the truck! So the cyclist was on a dangerous road, not wearing a helmet and crashed into a moving vehicle. The driver of the vehicle actually saw it coming and tried to avoid the cyclist from crashing into him.

What the heck, this sounds like someone is looking for “nuisance money”. Sorry about the wife and of course the two young children are mentioned but that is what “life insurance” is for.


That’s what I didn’t understand from the tribune article “According to the report, both Donati and Errea steered to avoid each other, but Errea lost control of his bike and the two collided.”

Maybe the cyclist was making a left turn into oncoming traffic or the truck was coming out of the landfill.


I think the Donati family should file suit against the Errea family for mental duress caused by his failure to wear a helmet and possibly survive the accident.

Sorry someone lost their life, but when you don’t take due caution for your own safety, you are partially at fault for the loss.

What happen to the days when there was personal responsibility, no helmet is just plain stupid mostly on a road with speed limit of 45 mph for cars


Wow, what a wonderful tribute written by a friend.


I have to wonder how someone sues when the deceased best friend writes the following in a memorial tribute:

“That was the bike he was riding when, on Saturday, July 28, on a ride in San Luis Obispo with me, he was hit by a car and thrown from his bike. He died two weeks later, Friday Aug. 10, as a direct result of hitting his head on the pavement without a helmet.”

“The driver wasn’t to blame, Blaine wasn’t to blame, the road wasn’t to blame. It was one of those horrible, unavoidable things.”

“Not wearing a helmet is what killed my best friend. He was 42.”

“I’ve thought about starting some kind of “Blaine Errea memorial helmet fund” thing, but it doesn’t feel right. I bought him a helmet a few years ago, and he sold it at a yard sale. He just didn’t like helmets and he died for it. So I suppose I could start the “Blaine Errea memorial don’t be a stinking moron fund,” but that’s too ambitious and I honestly don’t think there’s enough money in the world to make an appreciable dent.”

“Generally, when I write, I leave some moral sticking out at a weird angle. I don’t have a moral here. Blaine knew what he was doing. He wouldn’t have been Blaine if he hadn’t resisted wearing a helmet.”


If the truck belonged to the company and not Mr. Donati, it would almost certainly involve liability on their part (legally) even if he was using it to get to/from work or for other personal business. If he was driving for company business, it would involve them for sure whether it was his truck or not.

If it was his own vehicle and he was on personal business (even driving to/from work), then naming the company in the suit is more likely a legal tactic to harass them into a settlement as legal liability would be difficult to establish. I do hope that their is clear evidence of where the fault for the accident lies because, as financially strapped as Ms. Errea may be, it is not right to hold anyone else legally and financially responsible if the accident wasn’t their fault.


More information would be helpful, a quick search and all I could find was a mention that the cyclist was not wearing a helmet and if correct you have to wonder if he had been wearing one would the outcome have been the same?


Based on that info, I may have to change my inclination to blame the driver. Most competent cyclists understand the danger of that stretch of road and most wouldn’t travel it without the appropriate protection for their skull. Helmets are far from full protection in a high speed collision but are significantly better than nothing at all.

I suspect that this may be a relatively rare case where an inexperienced cyclist was riding there and that also tends to increase the odds that he at least contributed to the accident if he didn’t cause it. Still, facts are lacking to make a firm conclusion about who was at fault.


Even better…the one and only…


Errea lost control and collided with Donati? I haven’t seen the report and I don’t know either involved party, but I would bet a mint the bicyclist was found at fault.


If this happened in or close to SLO, I would tend to agree with you. However, I travel that stretch of road almost every day and it doesn’t seem to have the scofflaw cyclists on it. The few I see tend to be single individuals, riding properly. The narrowness of the road, the heavy commuter traffic and the difficulty of the hill tend to discourage the casual and inexperienced riders I suspect.

However, this is a road that motorized commuters use heavily to avoid the congestion on 101 or get from AG to south SLO quickly. If the accident happened during commuting hours, I would be more inclined to bet on an impatient or distracted driver being the cause.

Either way, the article doesn’t give us enough information to make a reasoned guess at responsibility.


Wish we had a little more information and not left to assumptions. I understand Ms Errea suing Mr. Donati but would be curious on more info. on his employer. Yes the assumption would be that he was performing duties for them, hence the suit. But I’ve also seen people try to sue when the party in question was either on their way to or from work and if that is the case then the employer is not responsible in my opinion.