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Orange County, California

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John Bisnar
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Another teenage auto fatality

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Is this a case of seat belt failure or failure to use a seat belt?

The Orange County Register reported that a Lake Forest man, who was not seat belted, was ejected from the rear-passenger seat of the vehicle he was traveling in and died from his injuries. The accident occurred along the shoulder of the northbound Mohave (I-15) Freeway near Hesperia late Saturday night.

According to California Highway Patrol officer Robert Grieve, Jomer Joseph Aspili Baguinon Jr., 19, was a rear seat passenger in a 2004 Nissan Sentra when the Sentra veered off the freeway before crashing into a concrete barrier at the foot of an embankment.

Baguinon died from blunt-force trauma to the skull early Sunday morning at Arrowhead Regional Hospital where he had been transported by helicopter, according to the San Bernardino County coroner’s reports.

The 16 year-old driver of the Nissan told the CHP he was cut off by another vehicle before leaving the freeway near the shoulder around the 29.2-mile marker at around 10:15 p.m., Grieve said. Apparently there was no independent evidence to support the drivers story.

The driver suffered unspecified injuries and was also transported to Arrowhead Regional for treatment, according to CHP officials. The young driver was not arrested and is a resident of Los Angeles.

Although the CHP is of the opinion that the deceased passenger was not wearing a seat belt, it is possible that there was a failure of the seat belt system, which we have proved in a Nissan vehicle before. The CHP does not normally have the time, the equipment or the expertise to make such determinations. Only an in-depth inspection by experts of both the vehicle and the body would disclose evidence of a seat belt failure.

Always wear your seat belt.