MADD Kern County hosts virtual ‘Walk Like MADD & MADD Dash’, presented by Chain | Cohn | Stiles

October 14, 2020 | 6:00 am


For the seventh year, Kern County came together on Saturday, Oct. 10, in the fight against impaired driving to proclaim, “No More Victims!”

Bakersfield’s virtual Walk Like MADD & MADD Dash — presented by Chain | Cohn | Stiles — is Kern County’s chance to do something about drunk and drugged driving in our community. Since 2009, our community has seen at least 4,000 DUI arrests made each year, according to the Kern County District Attorney’s Office – nearly 12 DUI arrests per day. Kern County ranks worst in the state for DUI crashes resulting in injuries, and second most in the United States.

Like many nonprofits, MADD Kern County has severely been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, losing a large percentage of funding intended to fight against impaired driving in our community. In fact, MADD California has lost over 80% of annual revenue, forcing drastic cuts that continue to disrupt grassroots programs and services, officials said. Meanwhile, impaired driving, unfortunately, continues to be one of the leading causes of fatalities and injuries on our roadways.

In a unifying event, MADD California hosted a virtual Walk Like MADD ceremony on Oct. 10 using the #OneMADDCalifornia hashtag. The statewide virtual ceremony included CHP-Bakersfield officers, featuring Robert Rodriguez singing the national anthem, and local presenting sponsor Chain | Cohn | Stiles.

In Kern County, the event raised more than $42,000 to help fund local educational programs and prevention services, raise awareness of the DUI problem in our local communities, and provide support to local victims and survivors of drunken driving crashes. Statewide, the event raised more than $1.6 million!

You can watch the full ceremony at walklikemadd.org/bakersfield and on Facebook at “Bakersfield Virtual 2020 Walk Like MADD”.

“Our community annually comes together to fight this serious issue in Kern County, to remember the victims of these crimes, and demand change,” said Carla Pearson, victim services specialist for MADD Kern County. “MADD Kern County thanks our local community for helping for spread the message, and fundraise for vital local program. We all want a future of No More Victims.”

In what has become one of the largest fundraising walks and runs in town, the event brings together people from our community – surviving victims of crashes, families and friends of injured and deceased victims, law enforcement, prosecutors, first responders, advocates, and community leaders and members – to march, rally and run for the cause.

Presented by the local law firm Chain | Cohn | Stiles, the local event was also supported by Chevron, Valley Strong Credit Union, Clinica Sierra Vista, Kern County Prosecutors Association, Good Samaritan Hospital, Sally Herald Accountancy Inc., and others.

Awards were given to race finishers and top fundraisers. They are as follows:

  • Fastest Male: Garret Sugimoto, Kern Regional Crime Lab
  • Fastest Female: Jessica Harrington, 23ABC News
  • Top Team: Madysyn & Kaleb’s Keepers
  • Top Fundraiser: Amber Morales
  • Top Law Enforcement Team: Kern County District Attorney’s Office

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MEDIA COVERAGE

PRE-EVENT MEDIA COVERAGE

Local families, attorneys to march against police misconduct in ‘Walk for Justice’

March 3, 2015 | 10:08 am


Note: To see media coverage of this event, scroll to the bottom.

Prominent attorneys will be joining local families in the “Walk for Justice” on Saturday, March 14, to speak out against local cases of police misconduct, wrongful death and civil rights violations.

Chain | Cohn | Stiles attorney Neil Gehlawat will be joining lawyers from the prominent Los Angeles-based firm Geragos & Geragos at the 1 p.m. march, which starts at 1700 Flower St. in east Bakersfield.

That’s near the site where David Silva lost his life on the night of May 7, 2013, when officers approached him as he lay on the grass across the street from Kern County Medical Center. Silva, a 33-year-old father of four, was severely beaten by seven baton-wielding officers, and died an hour later.

The two prominent law firms are working together on the Silva wrongful death case, as well as other Kern County cases against the Kern County Sheriff’s Department and Bakersfield Police Department. The civil lawsuit is ongoing. 

Silva’s family, joined by other families from local cases of police misconduct, are now advocating for an end to police brutality.

To read more about the Silva case, click here.

The marchers will be meeting at four locations where incidents of police brutality have taken place, and will leave flowers in remembrance of victim’s lives. Those victims also include Ronnie (Pops) Ledesma, David Turner and James De La Rosa. The march will end at Heritage Park.

“Be the voice for those who no longer have one,” organizers stated in a flier for the march.

Attorney Neil Gehlawat will be speaking about local cases, as well as a representative from Geragos & Geragos. Attorney Mark Geragos is representing the families of two men killed by Bakersfield police in separate incidents, including the killing of Ramiro James Villegas on Nov. 13. That claim seeks damages for violation of civil and constitutional rights, wrongful death, punitive damages and emotional injuries. It says Villegas got out of his vehicle and held his hands up after being cornered by officers into a light pole. Officers said Villegas reached toward his waistband, and the officers opened fire, killing him. No gun or other weapon was found in Villegas’ possession.

For more information on the march, visit the “Walk for Justice” Facebook event page by clicking here, or call 661-747-1110. The march is sponsored by “Concerned Citizens of Bakersfield #UnitedWeStand.”

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Media:

The Bakersfield Californian: March draws attention to deaths in encounters with law enforcement

KGET Channel 17 (NBC): Locals call for more accountability in law enforcement

Instagram: CCS’ Neil Gehlawat speaks at “Walk for Justice” event

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Police misconduct, police brutality and the denial of civil rights have the effect of undermining our country’s Constitution. Common forms of police misconduct include unnecessary use of force, false imprisonment, sexual harassment and assault, illegal searches and planting evidence, among other circumstances. If you or someone you know has been a victim of police misconduct or police brutality, call the Bakersfield police misconduct lawyers at Chain | Cohn | Stiles at 661-323-4000, or visit the law firm’s website at Chainlaw.com.

Annual Bakersfield walk brings awareness to traumatic brain injuries

February 24, 2015 | 9:58 am


Each year, about 2.4 million children and adults in the United States suffer from a traumatic brain injury and another 795,000 people sustain an acquired brain injury from non-traumatic causes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Currently, more than 5.3 million children and adults in the United States live with a lifelong disability as a result of traumatic brain injury. And in California alone, more than 350,000 Californian live with brain injury, which is the leading cause of death and disability in the United States that affects people of all ages, races, ethnicities and incomes.

“Chances are that you have a family member, friend, or business colleague who has sustained a brain injury, whether it was a traumatic injury from a sports concussion, fall, or motor vehicle accident, or an acquired injury from a stroke, brain tumor or aneurysm,” according the Brain Injury Association of California.

In an effort to raise awareness of traumatic brain injuries throughout Bakersfield and Kern County, the Brain Injury Association of California will host its eighth annual signature “Walk, Run & Ride for Brain Injury” on March 7 at Pioneer Village, 3801 Chester Ave.

The event brings people together to recognize the individuals living with brain injury, and remember those who were lost.

The Bakersfield personal injury law firm Chain | Cohn | Stiles is proud to support the Brain Injury Association of California and the upcoming “Walk, Run & Ride for Brain Injury.” In fact, the lawyers at Chain | Cohn | Stiles have extensive experience dealing with personal injury cases involving traumatic brain injuries, and have successfully obtained millions of dollars on behalf of victims.

Those who suffer brain injuries experience significant change in their otherwise normal lives; they may no longer be able to work, and some may even require around-the-clock support. Treating brain injuries may require multiple surgeries, ongoing therapy or around-the-clock care. Chain | Cohn | Stiles can step in and help when that burden is due to the fault of someone else.

According to Brain Injury Association of California, is the most misdiagnosed, misunderstood and underfunded type of injury/disease. Though advances in neurosurgery and research have saved thousands of lives, without appropriate level of specialized rehabilitation, many victims will not achieve their maximum outcome.

The “Walk, Run & Ride for Brain Injury” also helps raise funds for education, advocacy and prevention of traumatic brain injury.

If you’d like to join Chain | Cohn | Stiles and hundreds of others in Kern County to support the event, click here to register, sponsor, join a team, donate, or for more information.

“Brain injury is not an event or a final outcome; it is the beginning of a lifelong disease process and is a leading cause of death and disability,” according to the Brain Injury Association of California. “Brain injury is something most individuals don’t think about until it happens to them or someone they love. When it does, their lives quickly spin out of control and they need compassionate, informed guidance to navigate the intricate system of care. Our mission is to provide this guidance through help, hope and healing.”

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If you or a loved one suffer from a traumatic brain injury at the fault of someone else, call the attorneys at Chain | Cohn | Stiles at 661-323-4000 or visit the website Chainlaw.com. For more information on traumatic brain injury cases, click here.