Ex-Red Hot Chili Peppers Guitarist Josh Klinghoffer Sued for Fatal Accident

Former Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist Josh Klinghoffer is facing a new lawsuit after he allegedly ran over and killed a 47-year-old pedestrian in Los Angeles who was on the way to the grocery store to make soup for his family.

Klinghoffer, 44, was sued in Los Angeles Angeles Superior Court on Wednesday, July 10 for fatally striking Israel Sanchez as he walked through a marked crosswalk in Alhambra, California on March 18.

According to a lawsuit filed by Sanchez’s daughter Ashley that was obtained by PEOPLE, Klinghoffer was “likely driving while distracted” and was allegedly “using a device mere seconds before” he struck Sanchez in the back while making a left turn.

The lawsuit alleges that the musician “made no braking or slowing motion until after” he’d fatally struck Sanchez, who was “thrown and/or dragged across the asphalt” and suffered blunt force trauma to the head. The victim was taken to the hospital, where he died about 2½ hours later of “excruciating” injuries, per the lawsuit.

“It was a tragic accident,” Klinghoffer’s attorney Andrew Brettler, who did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment, told TMZ in a statement. “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. Obviously, he’s cooperating with the police throughout the traffic investigation. This was purely a tragic accident.”

Israel Sanchez.

Courtesy of Ashley Sanchez

No arrests have been made in the case, according to the lawsuit, which also says that Klinghoffer — who is currently on tour with Pearl Jam — never contacted the Sanchez family, and “has shown no remorse for his behavior.”

Video of the incident obtained by PEOPLE shows a black GMC Yukon strike Sanchez without slowing down. The car then pulls to the side of the road and a man steps out, though the person cannot be identified as Klinghoffer. A photo obtained by PEOPLE also allegedly shows Klinghoffer holding what appears to be a cellphone seconds before the accident.

“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 said in a statement to PEOPLE. “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.”

Josh Klinghoffer performing in Inglewood in May 2021.
Kevin Winter/Getty

She is seeking a jury trial and damages including funeral, burial and medical expenses, attorney fees and pain and the loss of her father’s “love, companionship, comfort, care, assistance, protection, affection, society and moral support.”

Ashley has also launched a GoFundMe.

Klinghoffer joined the Red Hot Chili Peppers in 2009 following the departure of John Frusciante, and left in 2019 upon Frusciante’s return. He recorded two studio albums with the Chili Peppers, I’m With You (2011) and The Getaway (2016).

He later said that he did not take his firing personally, but struggled with it, telling Rolling Stone that leaving the band “truly felt like a death.”


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