Ex-Red Hot Chili Peppers Guitarist Sued For Wrongful Death In Fatal Car Accident

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Ex-guitarist for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Josh Klinghoffer, is being sued for wrongful death and negligence after allegedly hitting and killing a pedestrian earlier this year.

The lawsuit was filed on Wednesday by Ashley Sanchez, the daughter of Israel Sanchez, who died after being hit by Klinghoffer’s car while walking on a crosswalk in Alhambra, east of Los Angeles.

The lawsuit alleges that Klinghoffer was on his phone when his SUV, with no licence plate, hit the 47-year-old man on the 18th of March.

Video submitted by the plaintiff shows a black car striking Sanchez after taking a left turn at an intersection with a marked crosswalk. There was a 40-foot-wide grassy median dividing the road, which the plaintiff says should have given the driver ample time to see any pedestrians.

The video footage also appears to show the driver holding an object in their hand, which the plaintiff alleges to be Klinghoffer’s phone.  The footage was obtained by a neighbour’s Ring Doorbell camera.

Sanchez suffered from blunt force trauma, and later died in hospital as a result of his injuries.

“My dad was known for being a great chef, the most talented of his family, the greatest grandpa always full of love and joy,” Ashley Sanchez said in a news release. “His life was taken by a careless act of a person who didn’t bother to look where he was driving.”

In a statement made to TMZ, Klinghoffer’s lawyer Andrew B. Brettler said: “It was a tragic accident. After Josh struck this pedestrian in the intersection, he immediately pulled over, stopped the car, called 911 and waited until police and the ambulance arrived. Obviously, he’s cooperating with the police throughout the traffic investigation. This was purely a tragic accident.” 

Nick Rowley, The Sanchez’s family lawyer, told Variety that “Israel Sanchez was on his way to the grocery store to make soup for his family and never came home. He did everything right, looking for oncoming traffic and abiding by pedestrian signage, but tragically Mr. Klinghoffer, in a rush and on his phone, hit him fatally from behind with a large SUV.”

He continues on saying: “The loss and grief that the Sanchez family now faces is immense. We will not stop until there is accountability and justice for Mr. Sanchez and his family.”

Josh Klinghoffer played guitar with the Red Hot Chili Peppers from 2009 to 2019. He departed from the band in 2020 saying there was no bad blood between him and the other band members.

Klinghoffer was replaced by John Frusciante