Judge dismisses lawsuit filed over son’s death

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LOS ANGELES (CNS) – A judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by the parents
of an 18-year-old Glendora man who was fatally injured when he fell from the
side of a Jeep in the Angeles National Forest, allegedly because another couple
furnished alcohol to their son and other underage guests at a graduation party
at the defendants’ home before the 2016 accident.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Marc Gross took the action Friday
after neither the plaintiffs, David Alonso and Veronica Espinoza-Alonso, nor
their lawyers showed up for the hearing or explained beforehand why they would
not be there.
Gross’ action was “without prejudice,,” meaning the lawsuit could be
reinstated if the judge is persuaded to do so.
The plaintiffs brought the lawsuit in August 2017 against Michael and
Brenda Fink of Rancho Cucamonga. Lawyers for the Finks maintained the decedent,
Jacob Mendez-Alonso, was himself negligent and that he voluntarily assumed the
risk when making some of his decisions.
The accident took place about 12:35 a.m. May 21, 2016, three days
before Mendez-Alonso was scheduled to graduate from Whitcomb Continuation High
School in Glendora, according to the suit, which sought unspecified damages.
Mendez-Alonso was drunk when he fell while standing on the Jeep’s
running board as the driver took the vehicle up Glendora Mountain Road near Big
Dalton Canyon Road, the suit stated. He later died at Foothill Presbyterian
Hospital in Glendora.
According to the complaint, high school students at the Fink home
drank alcohol, including beer and vodka at the party and consumed a variety of
drugs, among them marijuana, prescription drugs and nitrous oxide.
The Finks also failed to ensure the teens were provided safe
transportation home after police broke up the party, the suit stated.
The driver took nine students, some as young as 14 years old, with him
in his Jeep Wrangler, which was meant to hold up to five people, the suit
stated. The driver picked up two more passengers along the way as the vehicle
headed up the mountain road with Mendez-Alonso on the running board, according
to the plaintiffs.
The driver was traveling at about 45 mph when he slowed down, causing
Mendez-Alonso to fall off the side of the Jeep, according to the lawsuit.
“As a result, (Mendez-Alonso) was brutally run over by the (Jeep),
suffering fatal injuries,” the suit alleged.

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