We Don't Win, You Don't Pay

67-Year-Old Woman is Dead after a Hit & Run Crash in Salinas

Hit & Run Accident, Salinas, CA

A 67-Year-Old Woman is Dead following a Hit and Run Accident that Occurred on Alisal Road, just North of Hartnell Road

Salinas, CA -A fatal hit-and-run collision on Alisal Road in Salinas, California, has left a community grieving and authorities searching for answers. The tragic incident highlights the urgent need for increased road safety measures and justice for victims of such reckless actions.

The Incident

On the morning of May 22, 2024, a fatal hit-and-run accident occurred on Alisal Road, just north of Hartnell Road, in Salinas, California. At approximately 6:17 a.m., a two-vehicle collision took place, involving a white 2001 GMC Yukon and a Nissan Altima. According to the California Highway Patrol (CHP), the Nissan Altima, driven by 68-year-old Ismael Bernal, was traveling south on Alisal Road and slowing down to make a left turn into an agricultural field. Maria Elena Chavez, a 67-year-old woman from Salinas, was in the passenger seat.

As the Nissan began its left turn, the GMC Yukon, driven by 64-year-old Adolfo Rosales Diaz, also traveling south, moved into the northbound lane in an attempt to pass the Nissan. Unfortunately, the GMC collided with the left rear of the Nissan, causing the Nissan to veer off the road and into a ditch. The GMC came to a stop facing the northbound lane in the southbound lane.

The impact of the collision was devastating. Maria Elena Chavez was pronounced dead at the scene, while Ismael Bernal suffered major head injuries and was transported to Natividad Medical Center for treatment. The driver of the GMC Yukon, Adolfo Rosales Diaz, fled the scene immediately after the crash. He was apprehended by authorities six hours later, a few miles from the accident site, and has been charged with hit-and-run with major injuries. It is still unclear whether drugs or alcohol played a role in the collision.

The CHP has requested that anyone with additional information about the incident come forward to assist in the ongoing investigation. This tragic event underscores the severe consequences of reckless driving and the importance of remaining at the scene following an accident.

Legal Implications 

The fatal hit-and-run accident on Alisal Road in Salinas brings several critical legal implications to the forefront. Under California law, leaving the scene of an accident, particularly one involving severe injury or death, is a serious criminal offense. Adolfo Rosales Diaz, the driver of the GMC Yukon, faces significant charges, including felony hit-and-run with major injuries. If found guilty, Diaz could face substantial prison time, hefty fines, and a permanent criminal record.

Statistics from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) highlight the gravity of hit-and-run incidents. In 2021, Monterey County recorded 190 fatalities and injuries resulting from hit-and-run accidents. Nationally, hit-and-run fatalities have been on the rise, with a significant increase of 89.4% from 2012 to 2021, according to a study by ValuePenguin. In 2021 alone, 2,783 hit-and-run accidents resulted in fatalities across the United States, accounting for 7% of all fatal crashes.

These statistics underscore the critical need for stringent enforcement of traffic laws and the importance of legal representation for victims. An experienced personal injury attorney can help navigate the complexities of such cases, ensuring that victims and their families receive the compensation and justice they deserve. Legal professionals play a vital role in advocating for the rights of victims, gathering necessary evidence, and holding the responsible parties accountable.

In the aftermath of a tragic hit-and-run accident like the one on Alisal Road in Salinas, the role of a skilled wrongful death lawyer becomes indispensable. Legal representation is crucial to ensure that the victims and their families receive the justice and compensation they deserve. The complexities of such cases, including identifying and prosecuting the responsible parties, necessitate expert legal guidance.

The Scranton Law Firm is committed to helping victims of accidents and their families through these challenging times. With over 50 years of experience and more than $1 billion recovered for our clients, our team is dedicated to providing compassionate and effective legal representation. Our expertise in personal injury law, combined with our relentless pursuit of justice, sets us apart as a leading advocate for accident victims.

If you or a loved one has been affected by a similar incident, it is essential to seek professional legal assistance immediately. Contact the Scranton Law Firm to schedule a free consultation and learn more about your rights and options. Our experienced personal injury attorneys are here to help you navigate the legal process and secure the compensation you need to move forward with your life.


1. What should I do if I am involved in a hit-and-run accident? If you are involved in a hit-and-run accident, immediately call 911 to report the incident and seek medical attention if necessary. Try to gather as much information as possible about the fleeing vehicle, including the license plate number, make, model, and color. Stay at the scene until authorities arrive and provide them with all the details you have collected.

2. Can the family of a hit-and-run victim file a wrongful death claim? Yes, the family of a hit-and-run victim can file a wrongful death claim. This legal action can help recover compensation for funeral expenses, loss of income, and other damages. Consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney can help navigate this complex process and ensure that the responsible parties are held accountable.

3. How long do I have to file a personal injury claim in California? In California, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim is generally two years from the date of the accident. However, it is advisable to consult with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible to ensure all legal deadlines are met and to preserve crucial evidence.

4. What are the penalties for hit-and-run drivers in California? In California, hit-and-run drivers face severe penalties, including fines, imprisonment, and a criminal record. The specific penalties depend on the circumstances of the accident, such as the severity of the injuries and whether the driver has prior offenses. Leaving the scene of an accident that results in injury or death is considered a felony.

5. How can a personal injury attorney help after a hit-and-run accident? A personal injury attorney can assist by conducting a thorough investigation, gathering evidence, and identifying the responsible party. They will handle all communications with insurance companies and represent your interests in court if necessary, ensuring you receive the maximum compensation for your injuries or loss.


Free Case Review

Visit Our Main Office

Don’t navigate the aftermath of a hit & run accident alone. Let the Scranton Law Firm stand by your side. With over 50 years of experience as personal injury lawyers, we’ve helped thousands recover from their losses. If you or a loved one are affected by a Salinas hit & run accident, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Secure your rights and seek the justice you deserve. Call us now for a free consultation – The Scranton Law Firm, your trusted ally in these challenging times. Call 800-707-0707 now.