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Former Red Hot Chili Peppers Guitarist Josh Klinghoffer Sued for Wrongful Death Over Fatal Traffic Accident

Former Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist Josh Klinghoffer was hit with a wrongful death lawsuit Wednesday, accusing him of negligence behind the wheel that led to the death of 47-year-old California grandfather Israel Sanchez.

According to the suit — filed at the Superior Court of the State of California on behalf of Sanchez’s daughter, Ashley — the incident occurred in March of 2024, not long before Klinghoffer went on tour as a session musician for Pearl Jam. The suit alleges that the guitarist, driving an SUV with no plates, was distracted by his phone and hit Sanchez, who was on his way to the grocery store to make a meal for his family. Sanchez died later that day due to blunt force trauma from his injuries.

The suit also alleges that Klinghoffer was not arrested after the incident and that he never reached out to the family. It includes up to 20 Does, identified as agents, servants, employees, and other folks associated with the musician.

“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 release. “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.”

“Mr. Klinghoffer should be arrested and prosecuted for homicide. We have a video of him on his cell phone at the time he hit and killed Israel Sanchez, a loving father, in a crosswalk,” added the family’s attorney, Nick Rowley.

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The family is suing Klinghoffer for pain and suffering, medical costs, attorney fees, and more. They’re currently asking for a jury trial. “This was a tragic accident,” Klinghoffer’s attorney tells Rolling Stone. “After which, Josh immediately pulled over, stopped the vehicle, called 911, and waited until police and the ambulance arrived. He is fully cooperating with the traffic investigation.”

Klinghoffer was fired by his Chili Pepper bandmates in 2019 when their long-time guitarist, John Frusciante, elected to rejoin the group. He went solo soon after under the name Pluralone, opening for Pearl Jam before joining the band in 2021. He’s credited on their latest album, Dark Matter.

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