Former guitarist for Red Hot Chili Peppers accused of distracted driving in pedestrian’s death

(KTLA) – A former guitarist for the Red Hot Chili Peppers is facing a lawsuit claiming wrongful death and negligence when he struck and killed a pedestrian in California in March.

Josh Klinghoffer was driving a GMC Yukon on March 18 in Alhambra when he fatally struck Israel Sanchez, according to a lawsuit filed by Sanchez's family.

In the suit, the family claims there is "video evidence" showing Klinghoffer on his phone just before the collision.

“My dad was known for being a great chef, the most talented of his family, the greatest grandpa always full of love and joy,” Ashley Sanchez, Israel's daughter, said in a news release announcing the suit. “His smile was so infectious. His life was taken by a careless act of a person who didn’t bother to look where he was driving.”

Israel Sanchez is seen in an undated photo. (Trial Lawyers for Justice)Josh Klinghoffer's SUV is shown on March 18, 2024. (Trial Lawyers for Justice)In this image released on May 2, 2021, Josh Klinghoffer and Eddie Vedder perform onstage during Global Citizen VAX LIVE: The Concert To Reunite The World at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Global Citizen VAX LIVE)

Andrew Brettler, an attorney for Klinghoffer, told TMZ that the March 18 incident was "a tragic accident."

"After Josh struck this pedestrian in the intersection, he immediately pulled over, stopped the car, called 911 and waited until police and the ambulance arrived," Brettler said. "Obviously, he's cooperating with the police throughout the traffic investigation. This was purely a tragic accident."

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Klinghoffer, 44, became the youngest member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame when he was inducted alongside the Red Hot Chili Peppers at the age of 32 in 2012. (That record is now held by Ilan Rubin of Nine Inch Nails.) Since his departure from Red Hot Chili Peppers in 2019, Klinghoffer has also been a touring member of Pearl Jam, and is listed as a contributing musician on their most recent album.

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