Josh Klinghoffer, a guitarist who has worked with Pearl Jam and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, is being sued for his alleged involvement in a traffic accident that killed a pedestrian.

Klinghoffer, who is currently on tour with Pearl Jam, is named as a defendant in a lawsuit filed by the family of Israel Sanchez, a pedestrian who sustained blunt-force trauma to his head and died hours later as a result of a traffic collision in Alhambra, Calif. on March 18.

Reps for Klinghoffer and Pearl Jam did not immediately respond to Entertainment Weekly’s request for comment.

Josh Klinghoffer.

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“It was a tragic accident,” Klinghoffer’s lawyer Andrew Brettler told TMZ. “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.” 

“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,” Nick Rowley, one of the prosecuting attorneys, said in a statement shared with EW. “Israel Sanchez was on his way to the grocery store to make soup for his family and never came home. He did everything right, looking for oncoming traffic and abiding by pedestrian signage, but tragically Mr. Klinghoffer, in a rush and on his phone, hit him fatally from behind with a large SUV. The loss and grief that the Sanchez family now faces is immense. We will not stop until there is accountability and justice for Mr. Sanchez and his family.”

Josh Klinghoffer.

Tara Ziemba/Getty


The prosecution claims that Klinghoffer was using his cell phone while driving his Black 2022 GMC Yukon just moments before colliding with Sanchez. A video provided by the prosecution and reviewed by EW appears to show the driver using a smartphone right 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,” plaintiff Ashley Sanchez said in a statement. “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.”

Klinghoffer has toured with numerous high-profile musicians over the years, including Beck, Jane’s Addiction, Sparks, Gnarls Barkley, and PJ Harvey.