Chain | Cohn | Clark Case: Bakersfield Police Crash Kills One, Injures Three

January 25, 2023 | Article by Chain | Cohn | Clark staff | Cases , News & Media , Video

Chain | Cohn | Clark Case: Bakersfield Police Crash Kills One, Injures Three

One person died, three people were injured — including two Bakersfield police officers — following a crash during a pursuit southeast of Bakersfield and north of Lamont.

The crash involving the patrol car and a vehicle unrelated to the pursuit killed its driver, and critically injured its passenger. Matt Clark, attorney with Chain Cohn Clark, which is representing the family of the passenger, Ana Hernandez, spoke with KBAK-29 Eyewitness News about the incident and personal injury case. Attorneys Matt Clark and Chris Hagan provided a statement to local media, as did Ana’s father Rodolfo Hernandez:

“The incident that occurred in the early morning hours today is a tragedy. Ana was getting a ride home from work at Grimmway Farms when this terrible crash occurred. She is an innocent bystander in this incident. She suffered critical injuries, including orthopedic fractures and internal organ injuries, and has undergone two surgeries so far,” the attorneys said in a statement. “It’s our understanding that the CHP Multidisciplinary Accident Investigation Team has already been out to the scene. We will have our own team of experts out at the scene as well as we investigate the facts and circumstances that led to this crash. As a law firm that has been involved in these types of cases in the past, through our representation of other victims involved in tragic motor vehicles collisions with law enforcement, we can state unequivocally that incidents like this should never happen.”

Added Rodolfo Hernandez, in Spanish: “We have a close family, which includes my wife and four children. Her siblings are flying in from Mexico to be close to their sister, and so we can all be together at time. We are all primarily concerned with health of our daughter, and we’re praying for her full recovery.”

The California Highway Patrol is leading the investigation into crash early Thursday, Jan. 19, at South Vineland Road and Muller Road. Officials said the Bakersfield Police patrol car was headed south on Vineland Road at the time of a pursuit involving other patrols vehicles on Weedpatch Highway when that patrol vehicle crashed into a Honda Accord driven by 31-year-old Mario Lares, with Hernandez as the passenger. They had been working at Grimmway Farms before the crash happened.

Lares was killed, and Hernandez suffered major injuries and was taken to Kern Medical Center via helicopter. The officers in the patrol vehicle, identified as Travione Cobbins and Ricardo Robles, were taken to a nearby hospital with moderate to major injuries, according to a CHP report. CHP also noted that “the intersection of Muller Road and South Vineland Road is controlled by a stop sign for northbound and southbound traffic only.”

The investigation continues.

In 2020, Chain | Cohn | Clark resolved 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 deputy struck and killed her in September 2014 while in his patrol car. The family settled the lawsuit against the County of Kern for $2.5 million, and the resolution of the case represented the culmination of nearly a decade of work representing not only the family of Nancy Garrett, but the families of Daniel Hiler, Larry Maharrey and others who have been killed in crashes involving Kern County Sheriff’s Office personnel.


UPDATE (FEB. 8, 2023): KGET-17 News reported that a Bakersfield police officer was speeding and ran a stop sign in the crash, actions that could result in criminal charges, according to a California Highway Patrol investigator.

“Based on the circumstances of the collision I believe the driver of the Ford Taurus was in violation of . . . gross vehicular manslaughter,” Officer Gustavo Garcia wrote in a search warrant filed in Superior Court. The warrant was authored to obtain crash data including the speed of both the police Taurus and the Honda Accord it hit.

Chain | Cohn | Clark provided the following statement:

“When police officers engage in pursuits, they expose innocent victims to serious injury or death. Sirens and flashing lights on a patrol car do not give police officers unfettered authority to drive on our streets without exercising due care for others on the roadway. Tragically, the incident that occurred in the early morning hours of Jan. 19, 2023, resulted in the death of one innocent victim and life altering injuries to our client, Ana Maria Hernandez. We are aware of the California Highway Patrol warrant requesting a data download from the Bakersfield Police Department patrol vehicle. This request is consistent with the known facts of the case that the officer driving southbound on S. Vinland Road had a stop sign yet appeared to not stop.Tragedies like these should never happen and we will reserve judgment on any criminal charges that may be brought until such time as the CHP completes its investigation.”


UPDATE (MARCH 2023): Chain | Cohn | Clark is no longer representing the Hernandez family in this personal injury case.


If you or someone you know is injured in an accident at the fault of someone else, or injured on the job no matter whose fault it is, contact the attorneys at Chain | Cohn | Clark by calling (661) 323-4000, or fill out a free consultation form, text, or chat with us at