|Updated: 03/16/2015 05:40:39 AM PDT
PITTSBURG — The family of a 56-year-old man who drowned after his car crashed into the Contra Costa Canal last year has sued the city of Pittsburg, seeking $30 million in damages.
The suit alleges the city did not do enough to prevent Dennis Sandoval’s car from falling into the canal and that there should have been a barrier in place, better warning signs and other safeguards.
Sandoval, of Pittsburg, was driving home from work after 6 p.m. on April 1, 2014, when his eastbound car failed to negotiate a left curve on West Leland Road. His car went over a curb, through a chain-link fence and into the canal, landing upside down in 5½ feet of water.
The lawsuit says the city should have installed a barrier that extended out into the region where Sandoval’s car crashed. There is such a barrier directly above the canal, but where Sandoval’s car broke through, there is only a single chain-link fence.
"Our main position is that for a very little amount of money, they could have erected a regular guard rail or sunken wooden post," Robert Abel, the attorney representing the family, said.
"That would have stopped this vehicle from leaving the roadway and entering the water. It wasn’t the crash that killed him, it was the drowning."
Sandoval’s widow, Loretta, said Friday her motivation for suing was to force the city to install a barrier to prevent a future tragedy from happening.
Sandoval’s body was not…