Civil suit filed for deadly car crash

Flowers at the bottom of Big Chico Creek along Bidwell Avenue, where three Chico State students were involved in a single car crash Jan. 26 in the early morning. Orion File Photo.

Months after a vehicle crash killed two Chico State students and left one hospitalized, two families are suing each other on behalf of their sons.

In April, Steve and Christine Silver, the parents of deceased Austin Silver, filed a suit against 19-year-old Diego Arriaga Rodriguez and his father, Antonio Arriaga Razo, for the death of their son in a fatal vehicle rollover off Bidwell Avenue early January 26.

A CHP investigation determined that Arriaga Rodriguez drove the car off the road and into the Big Chico Creek, which runs along Bidwell Avenue. They found 20-year-old Silver, a passenger in the car, dead from severe head trauma at the scene of the crash that morning. The second passenger, Bryant Mata Adams, 19, died a day later in the hospital.

Silver’s parents are seeking undetermined damages for funeral and burial expenses and for the emotional harm caused by their son’s death.

The defendants’ response to the Silvers’ complaint claimed that there was conflicting evidence as to who was driving the car during the accident.

In September, they filed a cross-complaint against the Silvers, alleging that Austin was the driver during the crash and that the parents are liable for medical costs and the emotional harm suffered by Arriaga Rodriguez’s family.

The car, a 1998 BMW, belonged to Arriaga Rodriguez and his father, according to the Silvers’ complaint.

Arriaga Rodriguez suffered head trauma and went into a coma following the accident. As of March, he was awake and in recovery. However, Arriaga Rodriguez was unable to represent himself in court due to his medical condition, according to court filings.

In May, Luz Maria Rodriguez, Diego’s sister, requested to represent her brother as a defendant in the case and to pursue damages against the Silvers. Her request was granted by the court.

Both families are awaiting a case management conference on Oct. 7 The Silvers have requested that a jury trial be held.

A toxicology report revealed that Arriaga Rodriguez, Silver, and Mata Adams all had alcohol in their system during the crash. A significant amount of marijuana was also found in Arriaga Rodriguez’s blood content.

Mozes Zarate can be reached at [email protected] and @mozeszarate on Twitter.