Chain | Cohn | Stiles investigator discusses importance of active shooter trainings

February 28, 2018 | 8:49 am

It’s a somber thought, but one that unfortunately is important to think about in our current times: What would you do if you were confronted with a situation involving an active shooter?

In the aftermath of the mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17 people, KERO-23 News interviewed several local officials — including Chain | Cohn | Stiles investigator Ray Pruitt — regarding active shooter training and safety plans at Bakersfield and Kern County schools.

Pruitt, who has nearly 25 years of experience in law enforcement and investigations, stresses the importance of trainings, at schools or otherwise, to better prepare on how to react in the instance of a shooting.

To watch the news segment, click the video above or click here to visit the Chain | Cohn | Stiles YouTube page.

The odds that you will be a victim of a mass shooting are low. But experts say mass shootings have become so frequent and deadly in the United States that people should think in advance about how they will respond if the unthinkable happens.

For this reason, Chain | Cohn | Stiles would like to share some potentially life-saving tips — with the help of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security — on what you should do if you are ever witness to an active shooter scenario.

1) Evacuate: If there is an accessible escape path, attempt to evacuate the premises. Be sure to:

  • Have an escape route and plan in mind.
  • Evacuate regardless of whether others agree to follow.
  • Leave your belongings behind.
  • Help others escape, if possible.
  • Prevent people from entering an area where the active shooter may be.
  • Keep your hands visible.
  • Follow the instructions of any police officers.
  • Do not attempt to move wounded people.
  • Call 911 when you are safe.

2) Hide Out: If evacuation is not possible, find a place to hide where the active shooter is less likely
to find you.

  • Your hiding place should be out of the active shooter’s view, provide protection if shots are fired in your direction, and not trap you or restrict your options for movement.
  • To prevent an active shooter from entering your hiding place, lock the door and blockade the door with heavy furniture.
  • If the active shooter is nearby, lock the door, silence your cell phones, turn off any source of noise, Hide behind large items, and remain quiet.
  • If evacuation and hiding out are not possible, remain calm and dial 911, if possible, to alert police to the active shooter’s location. If you cannot speak, leave the line open and allow the dispatcher to listen.

3) Take Action: As a last resort, and only when your life is in imminent danger, attempt to disrupt and/or incapacitate the active shooter by:

  • Acting as aggressively as possible against him/her.
  • Throwing items and improvising weapons.
  • Yelling.
  • Committing to your actions.

As Pruitt mentioned in the KERO-23 interview, it’s important to prepare for an active shooter situation beforehand, create a plan, and conduct training exercises. Steps to do this are also covered by the Department of Homeland Security active shooter booklet, which you can view by clicking here.

But, in short, ways to prepare for and prevent an active shooter situation include the following:

  • Ensure that your facility has at least two evacuation routes.
  • Post evacuation routes in conspicuous locations throughout your facility.
  • Include local law enforcement and first responders during training exercises.
  • Encourage law enforcement, emergency responders, SWAT teams, K-9 teams, and bomb squads to train for an active shooter scenario at your location.
  • Foster a respectful workplace.
  • Be aware of indications of workplace violence, and take remedial actions accordingly.


If you or someone you know is injured in an accident, call the lawyers at Chain | Cohn | Stiles at (661) 323-4000, or visit the website

Law firm files wrongful death claim in fourth deputy-involved fatal crash in four years

August 18, 2015 | 10:05 am

Chain | Cohn | Stiles recently filed a wrongful death claim against the County of Kern related to a Kern County’s Sheriff deputy involved crash with a motorcyclist. Local media covered a press conference hosted by Matthew C. Clark and Neil Gehlawat from the personal injury and workers’ compensation* law firm, which included the release of surveillance video of the crash.

Read below and click the links to see full coverage of the press conference and media mentions.

_ _ _

(Bakersfield, Calif. – Aug. 12, 2015) For more than 20 years, Larry Eugene Maharrey, 59, worked for Golden State Drilling as a diesel mechanic to provide for his family. At his vigil, friends and family described him as “a good man” who would do anything for anyone in need. He especially enjoyed fishing and riding his motorcycle.

On July 14, Larry Maharrey was driving his motorcycle eastbound on Norris Road, when Kern County Sheriff’s Deputy Marvin Gomez abruptly made a left turn against a red light onto Airport Drive directly into Maharrey’s path. Maharrey was unable to avoid the collision with Deputy Gomez’s patrol vehicle, and died as a result of the crash.

Deputy Gomez violated KCSO policies and procedures by failing to pre-clear the intersection before turning left against a red light. In what has become a tragic and unfortunate trend, Maharrey’s death comes at the heels of another wrongful death lawsuit filed by Chain | Cohn | Stiles on behalf of the family of Nancy Garrett, who was struck and killed by KCSO deputy Nicholas Clerico.

Chain | Cohn | Stiles has filed a wrongful death claim against the County of Kern on behalf of Maharrey’s wife, Paula, and other family members. Attorneys Matthew Clark and Neil Gehlawat – joined by Maharrey’s widow – will host a press conference to discuss the filing of the claim. A copy of the claim will be provided to media, as well as surveillance video of the crash.

_ _ _

During the press conference, Paula Maharrey, Larry’s wife of 14 years, described him as a “crack-up,” a family man who would give his shirt off of his back to a stranger, and an all-around “good man.”

“I miss him every day,” Paula Maharrey said during the press conference. “I just want the Kern County Sheriff’s Office to take responsibility for their actions, follow their own set rules, and train their staff better.”

This wrongful death claim against the County of Kern follows another wrongful death lawsuit filed by Chain | Cohn | Stiles on behalf of Nancy Joyce Garrett’s family. Nancy Garrett was driving home from a Dodgers game when she was struck and killed by Deputy Nicholas Clerico’s Kern County Sheriff’s Office patrol car. Chain | Cohn | Stiles also represented the family of Daniel Hiler, who was struck and killed by Sheriff’s deputy John Swearengin as he crossed the street.

_ _ _


Claim filed against county in connection with fatal crash involving deputy (The Bakersfield Californian)

Family of man who died when his motorcycle hit a deputy patrol car has filed a wrongful death claim (KGET 17, NBC)

Kern County faces wrongful death claim in deputy crash (KBAK-KBFX 29-58, CBS-FOX)

Attorneys release video of fatal crash between KCSO deputy and motorcyclist (KERO 23, ABC)

Oildale man’s death comes as sheriff’s office tries to crack down on speed (The Bakersfield Californian – July 15, 2015)

Anxious about the start of the school year? Follow these tips for a stress-free back-to-school

August 12, 2015 | 9:11 am

School starts on Aug. 19 this year for many Bakersfield and Kern County students, and along with it comes the usual back-to-school shopping — and the danger of fraud.

Parents will use credit cards and other means of payment that contain their personal information, which may expose them to fraud. But it’s not just the parents who are at risk. Each year, nearly 500,000 children under the age of 18 fall victim to identity theft, according to

Chain | Cohn | Stiles, with the help of KERO Channel 23 and, has provided safety tips below to help protect you and your children from becoming victims of fraud.

And if the thought of being taken advantage of financially leaves you anxious, in addition to the usual back-to-school jitters for students and parents, be sure to read the tips below on how to prevent and cope with anxiety.

Protect Against Fraud

The start of school and back-to-school shopping go hand-in-hand. In fact, Chain | Cohn | Stiles recently sponsored underprivileged children in the annual “Childspree” back-to-school shopping program.

Follow these tips below to make sure your shopping experience is a joyous one.

  • Do not give out a social security number and/or birth date without knowledge on how it is going to be used or disposed of.
  • Know who is going to see the information once it’s collected. Many organizations perform meticulous background checks on staff and volunteers. Others don’t. If in doubt, write, “information to come.”
  • Some doctor’s offices still ask for patient’s’ Social Security numbers. Unless it’s needed to bill insurance, skip it.
  • Students ages 18 to 24 face the highest risk of identity theft. They often live in dorms or share apartments where others can access their belongings. Before they head back to campus, equip your college students with the right tools and habits.
  • Shred pre-approved credit offers. Dumpster-diving is an epidemic on campuses because thieves know most students throw these offers away unopened.
  • Lock up important papers like student loan and enrollment documents so they won’t be left lying around where anyone could see them.
  • Use strong alphanumeric passwords with combinations of special characters and capitalization and update security software.
  • If your phone is lost, contact your provider immediately.

Back-to-School Anxiety

Starting a new school year can be exciting. It can also make students anxious.

Being a little anxious is normal at the start of a new school year; however, for some students, it can slowly grow over the course of a school year and can discourage students from attending and performing well in school.

Some students may shut down and withdraw socially, or keep asking for assurance. KERO Channel 23 has provided the following steps that parents can take to help their children become less anxious about going to school and starting a new school year.

  • Attend open house or orientation activities that allow children to see their classroom and meet their teachers. That removes some of the unknowns.
  • Establish a routine and stick to it. A predictable routine at home can be calming.
  • Discuss the positive aspects of going back to school, like seeing friends again and extracurricular activities.
  • Talk about your own experiences with anxiety and how you cope. Praise children when they face their fears and acknowledge those positive aspects.

— By Jessica Magee for Chain | Cohn | Stiles


Safety is of most importance to the Bakersfield personal injury and workers’ compensation attorneys at Chain | Cohn | Stiles. If you or someone you know has been injured due to the fault of another, contact the law firm at 661-323-4000, or visit the website



Chain | Cohn | Stiles files lawsuit for family of woman killed in crash with Sheriff’s deputy

July 15, 2015 | 11:13 am

Chain | Cohn | Stiles has filed a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the family of 72-year-old Nancy Joyce Garrett, who was killed when a Kern County Sheriff’s Office patrol car operated by Deputy Nicholas Clerico struck and killed her.

The filing of the lawsuit is on the heels of the release of the California Highway Patrol’s Multidisciplinary Accident Investigation Team (MAIT) report regarding the crash that occurred on Sept. 28, 2014, at the intersection of North Chester Avenue and China Grade Loop in Oildale. The report finds Deputy Clerico at fault in the crash, and the CHP report recommended that a vehicular manslaughter charge be filed against the deputy.

Nancy was a friendly neighbor, a caregiver for our community, an active blogger, and the pillar of her family. She was a drug and alcohol counselor for the Kern County Mental Health Department, and also volunteered her time as a substance abuse counselor for STEPS, a local nonprofit that provides DUI awareness services. At the time of the crash, she was returning home from a Los Angeles Dodgers baseball game she attended with her family and friends.

Chain | Cohn | Stiles attorney Matt Clark was joined by Garrett’s grown children, Mark McGowan and Deborah Blanco, for press conference on July 9 to discuss the case, the 230-page MAIT report, and the lawsuit.

To view media coverage of the crash involving Garrett and Clerico and Chain | Cohn | Stiles representation of Garrett’s family, click here. To see media coverage following the press conference and filing of the lawsuit, view them below.

The unveiling of the MAIT report, the filing of the lawsuit by Chain | Cohn | Stiles and subsequent media coverage of the wrongful death case also comes in the midst of yet another tragic crash involving a Kern Count Sheriff’s deputy.

A 59-year-old motorcyclist Bakersfield man riding a motorcycle died Tuesday evening in Oildale when his motorcycle struck a patrol car driven by a deputy responding to an emergency call, according to local media reports. The crash is under investigation.

The crashes and lawsuits also come just a few years following another high-profile case represented by Chain | Cohn | Stiles involving a fatal crash with a Kern County Sheriff’s deputy.

On Dec. 16, 2011, Kern County sheriff’s deputy John Swearengin struck and killed Daniel Hiler, 24, and Chrystal Jolley, 30, as they pushed a motorcycle across Norris Road. Swearengin was traveling at more than 80 mph in a 45-mph zone, without activating his emergency lights or siren. Chain | Cohn | Stiles sued the County of Kern on behalf of the families, and settled last year for $8.8 million.

In the lawsuit related to Nancy Garrett, her family and attorneys are asking for changes within the sheriff’s department in how deputies are trained properly throughout Bakersfield and other communities across Kern County.




Tips: Make sure you’re safe before you hang your Christmas lights

December 1, 2014 | 9:06 am

The end of Thanksgiving, for many people, means one thing: It’s almost time for Christmas.

With that comes the tradition of hanging beautiful Christmas lights. But stringing lights across your roof and around your home can be a safety hazard if you are not careful.

Each year, more than 15,000 people were injured during November and December, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.  And each year, injuries increase. The most common reported incidents include falls, lacerations and back strains. Fires are also common, which can lead to injuries, deaths and property loss.

Personal injury attorney Matt Clark, of the Bakersfield law firm Chain | Cohn | Stiles, recently spoke with KERO Channel 23 about Christmas light safety, and the liability that comes with hiring someone to hang your lights for you.

Click here to watch the news segment.

But for those who decide to hang Christmas lights on their own, the Kern County attorneys would like you to take a look at a few safety tips, courtesy of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission:

  • Before you string up a single strand of lights, carefully check them for cracked cords, frayed ends or loose connections.
  • Newer lights have fused plugs, which prevent sparks in case of a short circuit. Toss any old strands of lights in the trash that don’t have fuses.
  • If bulbs have burned out, replace them right away, but make sure you use the correct wattage bulbs.
  • Make sure outdoor lights are plugged into a ground fault circuit interrupter outlet to reduce the risk of shorts and shocks.
  • Keep an eye on extension cords, as they can overheat. If the cord is hot, unplug it.
  • Don’t use tacks, nails or screws to hang lights. They can pierce the cable and become electrified. Use insulated hooks instead.
  • When running extension cords along the ground, make sure to elevate plugs and connectors with a brick to water and debris out of the connections.
  • Tape down any ground-level extensions cords to prevent people from tripping over them.
  • Not all lights are made for outdoor use. Make sure the ones you string up on the house belong out there.
  • When you put your lights back into storage, make sure to put them in a well-sealed container to prevent possible water damage and to block hungry rodents looking to turn the cords into lunch. My final advice? Be careful with ladders.

If you or a loved one is injured during the holiday season, call the Bakersfield personal injury law firm, Chain | Cohn | Stiles at 661-323-4000, or visit the website

CCS represents family of woman killed in crash with Sheriff’s deputy

October 6, 2014 | 9:07 am

On Sept. 28, 72-year-old Nancy Joyce Garrett was driving her vehicle at the intersection of North Chester Avenue and China Grade Loop in Oildale when she was struck and killed by a Kern County Sheriff’s Department patrol vehicle. Garrett’s family has retained the Bakersfield personal injury law firm Chain | Cohn | Stiles.

Below is the news release sent by CCS to local media, followed by the subsequent various news coverage:


Chain | Cohn | Stiles represents family of woman killed in crash with Sheriff’s deputy

Bakersfield, Calif. (Oct. 1, 2014) – By all accounts, Nancy Joyce Garrett was a friendly neighbor, a caregiver for our community, an active blogger, and most importantly, the pillar of her family. Nancy, 72, had been a drug and alcohol counselor for the Kern County Mental Health Department, and had also volunteered her time as a substance abuse counselor for STEPS, a local nonprofit that provide DUI awareness services.

Nancy passed away early Sunday morning when Kern County Sheriff’s Deputy Nicholas Clerico collided with the vehicle she was driving at the intersection of North Chester Avenue and China Grade Loop in Oildale. She had just returned to Bakersfield from a Los Angeles Dodgers baseball game she attended with her family and friends.

Nancy leaves behind a son, Mark, and a daughter, Deborah, along with grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Ms. Garrett’s family has retained the Bakersfield personal injury lawyers at Chain | Cohn | Stiles to represent them in this case. Her family is still mourning and requests that their privacy be respected at this time.

Mark McGowan, her son, stated: “We are all devastated. My mother was the most loving woman that you could ever meet. To see her go like this, under such tragic circumstances, breaks our heart. We hope that with time the truth is revealed and that future tragedies like this never happen again. In the meantime, the family requests that the media and members of the public respect our privacy out of deference to my mother.”

The California Highway Patrol’s MAIT Team is currently conducting an investigation of the collision.

Partner Matthew C. Clark added: “What we know at this time is that Nancy Joyce Garrett was a wonderful human being who had devoted her life to giving back to the community. Our hope and expectation is that the CHP will conduct a thorough investigation of this collision. We will not rush to any conclusions in the meantime, and we ask that the public do the same. But we promise to get to the bottom of what happened, and of course, as we learn more about the collision, we will share that information with the public.”

Chain | Cohn | Stiles also represented the family of Daniel Ace Hiler, who was hit and killed by Kern County Sheriff’s Deputy John Swearengin more than two years ago. That case resulted in a combined $8.8 million settlement.

1430 Truxtun Avenue, Suite 100 – Bakersfield, CA – 93301 – Phone: 661-323-4000

CHAIN | COHN | STILES is Kern County’s leading plaintiffs’ personal injury law firm, voted Bakersfield’s “Best Law Firm” in The Bakersfield Californian’s Readers Choice Poll the last two years in a row. Our Bakersfield personal injury attorneys have represented clients from throughout the San Joaquin Valley and California for 80 years. We concentrate our efforts on protecting the rights of individuals who have been seriously injured due to the negligent, reckless or intentional conduct of another. If you have been injured due to the fault of another, you have the right to hold that person or entity accountable, no matter how rich or powerful that person or entity may be. At Chain | Cohn | Stiles, we pride ourselves on having the reputation and resources necessary to overcome the most difficult challenges while achieving the best possible results for our clients.

For more information, go to, and visit our blog to stay up to date on firm news: Find us on Facebook, Twitter (@chainlaw), Instagram, LinkedIn, Yelp, Pintrest and Google+


This crash has been covered extensively by Kern County media. Below are some of the news articles and videos of the crash, and the coverage following the news release.

Following the release to local media, several local media outlets informed the public of the news.

And lastly, CCS attorney Matthew Clark spoke with The Bakersfield Californian’s CEO Richard Beene on the live streamed news show “First Look with Scott Cox” regarding the case. Catch the coverage here:

5th ‘Tips for CHiPs’ fundraiser to support families of fallen CHP officers

September 26, 2014 | 9:16 am

California Highway Patrol will host its fifth “Tips for CHiPs” luncheon fundraiser on Wednesday, Oct. 8, at Outback Steahouse in Bakersfield, and the personal injury law firm Chain | Cohn | Stiles is joining the cause as a sponsor.

The fundraiser supports the California Association of Highway Patrolmen Widows and Orphans Trust Fund, which goes toward to families when a loved one is killed in or off the line of duty. The fundraiser began in 2010 after the death of beloved CHP officer Mark Ehly.

Last year’s Tips for CHiPs raised close to $20,000, according to The Bakersfield Californian. In all, more than $70,000 has been donated by our community towards the Widows and Orphans Trust Fund.

“The support we have received for the last four years has been overwhelming and very much appreciated,” this year’s Tips for CHiPs flier states.

KERO Channel 23 last year highlighted the family of 35-year-old Curtis Michael Friebel last year, who lost his battle with colon cancer in August 2013. He worked for the CHP for more than 12 years, and left behind three children to raise. His wife told the news station that the support had been crucial for her.

“… A great burden has been lifted off me,” she told KERO Channel 23.

You can join the Bakersfield personal injury law firm Chain | Cohn | Stiles this year to surpass that total. For $25, diners can chose from a menu of steak, chicken or salmon served with bread, bloomin’ onion, salad, vegetables, mashed potatoes and dessert. The lunch will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The lawyers at Chain | Cohn | Stiles for years have supported CHP causes and programs. Many times, the Kern County attorneys represent CHP officers in workers’ compensation*, car accident and personal injury cases.

To join Chain | Cohn | Stiles as a sponsor, or for more information on the event, call Paul Yanez at 661-205-2980 or Shannon Ehly at 661-428-0335.

The trust fund is administered by the California Association of Highway Patrolmen, a nonprofit that represents about 11,000 active and retired California Highway Patrol officers. The group is dedicated to assisting families of CHP officers.

For pictures and videos from recent years’ events, see the media coverage below:


* NOTICE: Making a false or fraudulent Workers’ Compensation claim is a felony subject to up to 5 years in a prison or a fine of up to $150,000 or double the values of the fraud, whichever is greater, or by both imprisonment and fine.

‘Walk/Run Like MADD’ article, ad featured in new Bakersfield Life magazine

September 2, 2014 | 9:44 am

UPDATE: Several local media outlets have also made mention of the upcoming Walk/Run Like MADD. See the coverage below.


The September issue of Bakersfield Life Magazine was unveiled on Saturday, and included in the Saturday edition of The Bakersfield Californian. The magazine featured an advertisement for the upcoming Walk Like MADD — sponsored by the Bakersfield personal injury law firm Chain | Cohn | Stiles, and also included an article on the significance of Bakersfield’s first-ever 5K MADD walk and run.

The article and ad’s messages were even more important following this tragic weekend’s DUI-related crash. Read more about the fatal crash below.

The “Walk/Run Like MADD” 5K is being brought to Bakersfield by Mothers Against Drunk Driving Kern County on Saturday, Sept. 20 at the Park at River Walk. It’s aimed to raise awareness of drinking and driving crashes in Kern County, to raise money to support local victims and their families, and to fight to end drinking and driving in Bakersfield.

Currently, more than 175 participants have raised $22,600 for the walk. and run. The event is also sponsored by various community partners. They are Dignity Health, Chain | Cohn | Stiles, Bakersfield Police Officers Association, Kern County Prosecutors Association, Ira Cohn of USB Financial, Comprehensive Blood & Cancer Center, Kern County Bar Association and Aum Physical Therapy.

There is still time to sign up to participate, donate, volunteer or sponsor in the Walk/Run Like MADD. For more information, go to Bakersfield’s MADD website here.

Tragic weekend

The MADD ad, article and messages in the magazine were featured during a tragic weekend involving yet another fatal crash in Kern County involving alcohol.

Two people were killed in a fiery crash early Saturday morning when a suspected drunken driver slammed into the back of their car on Rosedale Highway, according to media reports. A third person was pulled from the burning car by passersby near the scene of the crash. That person suffered serious burn injuries and was taken to a hospital, media reported. The suspected drunken driver, 29-year-old Dontrell Collins, was booked on suspicion of felony drunken driving resulting in injury or death and vehicular manslaughter, police reported.

Collins, in a jailhouse interview with KERO Channel-23, said he didn’t remember anything from the night. Family members decried Collins for drinking and driving. Read the various media coverage of the incident below:


Below is media coverage regarding the upcoming MADD event:

  • Grieving families, advocates plead for end to drunken driving (KBAK-KBFX, 29-58,
  • Bakersfield Life Magazine featured an article about the walk and shared the stories of families of victims of drunken driving crashes. You can read the article here.
  • Kern County Deputy District Attorney David Wolf and CCS marketing director Jorge Barrientos — both part of the MADD walk planning committee — joined Sheri Ortiz on The Groove, 99.3, KKBB. Listen to the spot here.
  • KERO Channel 23 is currently running promos of the event.
  • CCS attorney Matt Clark and Kern County Deputy District Attorney Brandon Stallings appeared on the live stream show First Look with Scott Cox to discuss the problem of drinking and driving in Bakersfield, and encourage local residents to join in on the MADD walk. Watch the video here.
  • Eyewitness News (KBAK and KBFX, Channels 29 and 58) recently ran a story on the event following a DUI-related fatal Labor Day crash. The spot featured Mothers Against Drunk Driving Kern County victim advocate Carla Pearson. You can watch that here.
  • CCS attorney Neil Gehlawat and marketing director Jorge Barrientos — who are part of the planning committee for the Walk/Run Like MADD — spoke with KGET Channel 17 Friday morning, Sept. 12.

Chain | Cohn | Stiles represents victims in explosive accident garnering media attention

August 6, 2014 | 12:00 pm

UPDATE: Arrests have been made in this case. See the news stories below for more information. 

Russell Lester and Bryan Walls were attending a party on Fourth of July in west Bakersfield, celebrating our nation’s independence and wedding reception. By the end of the night, they were in local hospitals.

The two arrived at the party where party-goers were allegedly setting off illegal fireworks and explosives. Lester and Walls were asked to hold the balloons while they were filled with acetylene gas, which is very unstable, highly flammable gas. The balloons were being taped to a pole when they exploded. It’s possible static electricity ignited them.

Four people were severely injured in the blast, including Lester and Walls. The two suffered burns to their face, chest and arms. Lester lost all the hearing in his right ear and partial hearing in his left ear, and lost peripheral vision in his left eye. Walls suffered hearing loss, too, and Lester’s burns were so severe that he was taken to a Fresno burn center. Others were taken to San Joaquin Community Hospital‘s Grossman Burn Center.

Bakersfield personal injury attorney David Cohn, with the law firm Chain | Cohn | Stiles, is representing Lester and Walls, who continue to receive medical treatment.

The incident has been covered by local media in recent days. The case was publicly revealed by KERO Channel-23 News on Aug. 4, a month after the actual accident.

Jim Trino, who allegedly was igniting the bombs, told KERO he was celebrating his wedding reception that night. He told KERO that he had been setting off legal and illegal fireworks for more than 30 years, including the acetylene bomb which he pumped the gas into balloons, hung on a metal pole in the middle of a field, and ignited.

The Kern County Sheriff’s Office and the Kern County Fire Arson unit are now investigating.

The Bakersfield Californian also covered the case, including an article by Californian columnist Lois Henry, who argues that local safety agencies failed to inform the public properly about the incident. She calls it “a communications and training failure, something that can only be fixed from the top down.”

To catch up on the news coverage, click the links below:


The personal injury lawyers at Chain | Cohn | Stiles are major proponents of fireworks safety and providing burn victims with world-class care. Go HERE for tips on celebrating the Fourth of July safely. And read about our $200,000 donation to the Grossman Burn Center at San Joaquin Community Hospital HERE.

If you’ve been burned in an accident, contact Chain | Cohn | Stiles immediately.

CCS represents victim in DUI hit-and-run crash involving Kern County worker

July 15, 2014 | 9:33 am

The Bakersfield personal injury attorneys at Chain | Cohn | Stiles are representing the victim of a car accident involving a Kern County worker who was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, and fled the scene after the collision.

CCS lawyer Matt Clark is the lead attorney on the case, which has been followed closely by local media. He spoke with KERO-23 (ABC) about the case, and also The Bakersfield Californian. See the news segment here, and read the article here.

Local law enforcement authorities say Erik Webb, a worker with the county of Kern, rear-ended another vehicle while in a county-issued truck on July 1, at the 4100 block of Union Avenue near Columbus Street. After the crash, Webb gathered his belongings from the truck and fled the scene, according to police reports.

He was later caught and arrested by law enforcement. Webb remained in Kern County jail until he sobered up, and was then cited and released. Webb was charged with a DUI and hit-and-run resulting in property damage, records from the Kern County Superior Court show.

Representatives from the county of Kern told local media that Webb went into work the day after the crash and told his supervisor what happened, and he was sent home. Webb was also suspended with pay. Webb was placed on administrative leave, and he was not assigned another vehicle.

Photos obtained by Eyewitness News show a crushed Ford F-150 badly damaged in a Kern County yard.

Clark on Monday spoke with KERO-23 news about the case on Monday, speaking on behalf of the injured victim. Police reports show that Webb also told authorities he had been “messing” with his phone prior to the crash. It’s important, Clark said, that drivers not use their phones while driving, and to drive sober — especially if driving a county-issued vehicle.

KERO also reported that Webb had resigned from his position at the county of Kern.

See media reports about the case here:

If you’re involved in a car accident, first, stay calm. If you are injured, and if it is safe to do so, remain inside your vehicle until emergency personnel respond to the scene. Once out of your vehicle, make certain to obtain the other parties personal and insurance information. Often times, the police or California Highway Patrol will do this for you. Also, if there are any witnesses to the accident, be sure to obtain contact information (including name and phone number) for each witness. Later, witnesses can be important to your case. Most importantly, do not speak with an insurance adjuster until you contact Chain | Cohn | Stiles first. Law firm representatives are available by phone and email 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you speak with an insurance adjuster first, oftentimes they will obtain a recorded statement from you, which could be used against you later. It is always best to speak with a lawyer who will protect your rights first.

For more tips and information on car accidents and the lawyers at Chain | Cohn | Stiles — including frequently asked questions and answers — visit our specialized car accident website HERE.