November 19th, 2014
English: State Trooper of the Florida Highway Patrol supervises cleanup of a multi-car wreck on the Howard Frankland Bridge in St. Petersburg Florida on the morning of June 9, 2006. Category:Images of emergency vehicles (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Early Monday morning in Dallas, Texas, police chased robbery suspects and the end result was a multi-vehicle crash that left four people injured. Prior to the chase, a witness reported seeing people in a white Lexus rob someone at a Texaco station. The victims, whose Suburban windows were shot out by the thieves, said that two pairs of Nike tennis shoes and four pairs of Air Jordan basketball shoes had been taken. Police were quick to identify the suspects, who tried to escape the police rather than stop. It was a short chase that ended in Oak Cliff when the Lexus slammed into the back of a truck. Three people inside the truck were seriously injured. The robbery suspect was transported to the hospital for injuries sustained in the crash and was later booked at the Lew Sterrett Jail. The aggravated robbery and the crash are both under investigation.
Every year in the United States, hundreds of people are killed in high speed police chases. This dangerous activity is a leading cause of automobile accidents. Suspects fleeing the police often show a lack of regard for the safety of other motorists, and the speed at which the vehicles are traveling is a danger in itself.
Statistics show that of those killed or injured in accidents caused by police chases, two-thirds are motorists or pedestrians who were not involved with the alleged crimes or the police activity.
There has been much public debate in cities throughout the U.S. about whether the public risk of allowing high speed police chases is too high.
November 11th, 2014
English: Traffic collision involving two cars and a bus at an intersection in San Francisco. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
At about 2 a.m. Sunday morning, a deadly crash occurred in Arlington, Texas. According to police, a man was driving south in his Dodge Avenger on Matlock Road when he ran a red light and struck a westbound Chevrolet on the service road of Interstate 20. After the impact, the Chevrolet went into a spin and crashed into a traffic light pole. There were four people in the Chevrolet, and one passenger was pronounced dead at the scene. Another woman was transported to Medical Center of Arlington, where she later died. A third woman was in critical condition. The fourth occupant of the Chevrolet was a man who suffered non-life-threatening injuries and was treated in Fort Worth at John Peter Smith Hospital.
The driver of the Dodge was locked up in Arlington City Jail after being treated for minor injuries at a local hospital. According to police, the Killeen man will be charged with one count of intoxication assault and two counts of intoxication manslaughter.
Police said the driver of the Dodge had open alcohol containers in his truck, and his speech was slurred immediately following the crash. Witnesses informed the police that the man in the Dodge drove through the intersection even though he had a red light.
The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD) provides some statistics on drunk driving:
- It is estimated that 32% of all fatal traffic collisions involve an intoxicated motorist or pedestrian.
- Every year in the U.S., about 13,000 people are killed in accidents in which alcohol was a factor.
- Hundreds of thousands of people are injured as a result of drunk driving every year.
- Every year, there are over 1.4 million arrests for driving while intoxicated, and about 780,000 are convicted.
- The BAC (blood alcohol concentration) legal limit in all 50 states of the U.S. is .08% for drivers age 21 or older.
November 5th, 2014
English: Tight Squeeze Access north of the A2 between Rainham and Sittingbourne is restricted by the railway. Many of the bridges are too low for lorries. This bridge, in Breach Lane, has 15 foot clearance, but the lane is a bit narrow for the 38 tonne 18-wheeler seen here. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
A fatal 18-wheeler accident occurred between Carrizo Springs, Texas, and Eagle Pass on October 28, 2014, at about noon. A pick-up truck and a stationary van were stopped at a highway construction site on U.S. Highway 277 South in Maverick County, about 12 miles from Eagle Pass. An 18-wheeler suddenly crashed into the two vehicles from behind. A second 18-wheeler then rear-ended the first big rig. Three people were killed in the pile-up, those being 41-year-old Melissa Trevino of Laredo, who was driving the van; 63-year-old James Douglas Givens of Richmond, Texas; and 69-year-old John Brown, the pickup truck passenger.
One of the fatal victims reportedly died instantly. Another who died at the scene of the accident was extracted from the pickup truck wreckage by emergency crews who utilized the jaws of life. The third fatal victim was transported by medical helicopter to a hospital in San Antonio, Texas, where he later died from the injuries sustained in the crash.
According to Tom Schmerber, Maverick County Sheriff, the location of the fatal traffic collision has been the approximate site of a significantly increased number of fatal crashes in recent years. In this latest incident, investigators initially surmised that driver inattention was a contributing factor in the deadly crash.
A study that was conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in conjunction with other transportation groups found that approximately 80% of all traffic collisions involve distracted driving. Common reasons for driver inattention are talking on cell phones, texting while driving, eating, drinking, and looking at navigation or music systems.
October 29th, 2014
Aerospatiale Dauphin – Pawan Hans Medical Reconnaissance (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
When people are critically injured in accidents, they are often transported to a hospital via medical helicopter, to increase the odds of the victim’s survival. On October 4 a medical helicopter was en route to United Regional Hospital in Wichita Falls, Texas, to help someone who was in need of emergency medical care. Tragically, the helicopter began spinning out of control, according to the pilot, and crashed onto the streets of downtown Wichita Falls. The helicopter burst into flames. Initially the patient was the only one who died; but since that time, a flight nurse and another medical crew member have died.
In this instance, as in all similar tragedies, answers are sought. What caused the accident? Was it a result of negligence? When there is a lawsuit that alleges negligence, there are basically five things which must be shown in order to succeed in proving negligence, those being:
- The defendant had a duty of care that was owed to the plaintiff.
- The defendant failed in that duty of care.
- There is a distinct connection between the defendant’s negligence and the resulting harm.
- There should be proof of proximate cause, showing that the harm done was foreseeable.
- The conduct of the defendant resulted in damages.
An example of duty is that motorists have a duty to other people on the roadways, such as to abide by the rules of the road and to drive responsibly. If a driver runs a red light, he or she is arguably breaching his or her duty as a driver. If the driver’s failure to stop at the red light results in an injury of another party, the injured party may have a good argument that the breach of duty was the proximate cause of the injuries.
October 22nd, 2014
English: Homestead Air Reserve Base: Trucks began arriving here to pre-position water, military rations, ice and tarps for the post-hurricane relief effort. The trucks, which began arriving Oct. 20, have delivered supplies from Key West to northern Miami-Dade County since the storm passed. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Tragedy occurred south of Longview, Texas, on Texas 31 on the morning of Thursday, October 2, when the driver of an 18-wheeler exited FM 1252 to cross the southbound lanes of traffic on 31. A motorist in a sedan who was traveling southbound on 31 drove underneath the 18-wheeler. The driver was killed, and the top of the vehicle was severed. The tractor-trailer driver was transported to a nearby hospital, although he showed no signs of injury.
According to Mike Simmons, Kilgore Assistant Fire Chief, further details of the fatal collision are unknown. He also said that when two major streets intersect, accidents are always a possibility. At this particular intersection, however, he said that major accidents have not been a common occurrence.
More traffic accidents occur in intersections than anyplace else on Texas roads, from rear-end crashes to hazardous T-bone collisions. Lack of sound design of the intersection itself sometimes creates an increase in accidents, and sometimes hazardous road conditions are the cause. Driver error, however, is the cause of the majority of crashes at intersections. Most collisions at intersections are attributed to driver errors such as speeding and inattention.
State Farm Insurance Company has compiled lists of the most dangerous intersections across the U.S. and in Texas specifically. What is encouraging about their data is that intersections cited as dangerous are often given attention to improve safety, and they don’t end up on the most dangerous list again. State Farm has routinely made millions of dollars available in communities to enable them to study dangerous intersections and make changes which enhance safety.
October 15th, 2014
Moskovskoye highway. Consequences of traffic accident. Car of administration of Saint Petersburg was travelling on a wrong line without traffice police escort car (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Early this month eight vehicles were involved in a series of crashes on an I-35 service road in Fort Worth, Texas. The multi-vehicle accident occurred at about 1 p.m. near Seminary Drive. According to police, the 32-year-old driver of a Toyota Avalon caused the pileup; both the driver and the 20-year-old passenger in the Toyota died in the collision.
Although the details of the crash are still under investigation, Fort Worth Police Department Cpl. Tracey Knight said that, according to witnesses, the driver of the Toyota was speeding excessively and driving in a reckless manner when his vehicle slammed into the rear of a Chevrolet pickup truck. The crash set off other accidents involving six more vehicles, and it all happened on a southbound service road of I-35W.
An unspecified number of people were injured in the chain of events, and the injuries ranged from minor to serious; the only two people who were killed were occupants of the Toyota.
The Texas Transportation Code, in essence, says that a person is guilty of the misdemeanor offense of reckless driving when they drive an automobile in a way which exhibits wanton or willful disregard for the safety of property or persons.
The definition of reckless driving is arguably vague. The following are types of behaviors which have proven to qualify as reckless:
- Drunk driving
- Distracted driving
- Failure to yield the right-of-way
- Failure to use turn signals
October 8th, 2014
A container truck. Cab-over design. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Late on Friday, September 26, four women were killed in a bus crash as their college softball team from Texas was traveling on an interstate. According to federal investigators, an 18-wheeler driver barreled straight through a median on the interstate and struck the bus. If a lack of skid marks is a good indication, the truck driver made no attempt to avoid the deadly collision.
The fatal crash occurred near Davis, Oklahoma, on Interstate 35. At a place in the road where there was a gentle curve, the 18-wheeler continued traveling straight, went through the median, and collided with the southbound bus that was transporting 15 softball team members from North Central Texas College. The truck continued across southbound lanes another 300 feet, uprooting trees along the way.
The accident is being investigated. The biggest question is what the cause of the accident was, whether there was a problem with the 18-wheeler or whether perhaps it was driver error. Investigators reported early on that the truck’s brakes were not the problem.
The Oklahoma Highway Patrol reported that the truck driver said he was distracted by something within the truck’s cabin when the accident happened. Search warrants were obtained so that evidence from the bus and the truck could be collected.
In addition to the four students who lost their lives in the crash, 12 people were injured. Ten of the people injured were released after receiving treatment. An 18-year-old was in critical condition initially but within two days was reported to be in stable condition. A 19-year-old who was hospitalized at Norman Regional hospital was reported to be in fair condition.
The trucking company has a better than average safety record. In the past two years, only 2 of 51 violations attributed to the company involved distracted driving.
October 1st, 2014
English: Interstate 80 in western Utah, reminding drivers that “Drowsy driving causes crashes.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Tragically, four Texas college students were killed over the weekend after an 18-wheeler crossed the median on an Oklahoma road and crashed into the bus they were riding in. Police say the truck driver did not brake or try to veer away to avoid a collision; the fatal crash is being investigated.
In Part 1 of this two-part series, another crash is being investigated; in both cases, it’s reasonable to assume that driving while fatigued could possibly be the primary factor in the crashes.
Drowsy driving can be as dangerous as drunk driving. Sleepiness impairs judgment, decreases a driver’s level of awareness, slows reaction time, and significantly increases the risk of crashing. There are federal guidelines for how long truck drivers can be on the road without adequate rest, but the limitations are widely believed to be disregarded. Drivers are in a very competitive business, and they are under a lot of pressure caused by the people who hire them. Making deliveries on time and securing continued work take priority over safety on a regular basis, endangering everyone else on our roadways.
Proving that drowsy driving is the cause of a crash can be difficult. The following are two clues that suggest a driver likely crashed due to sleepiness:
- Skid marks are usually absent from the crash scene.
- In most cases, the driver is alone and involved in a one-vehicle accident which results in death or serious injuries.
Fatigued or drowsy driving involves the experience of being tired, exhausted, sleepy, or drowsy. Underlying causes of sleepiness include too little sleep, fragmented sleep, taking medications that cause drowsiness, and sleep disorders that are either undiagnosed or untreated.
Some states are exploring the possibility of legislation which would allow police officers to charge fatigued drivers with criminal negligence if they kill or injury someone because they drove without adequate sleep.
September 24th, 2014
English: Houston,TX.,9/8/2005–Eighth grade student, Nikita Anison boards school bus for her first day of school in Texas. She is sheltered at the Reliant center and was and evacuee from Louisianna. FEMA photo/Andrea Booher (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Every parent’s nightmare occurred on September 2 when a school bus veered off the roadway and crashed onto its side in Waxahachie, Texas, which is near Dallas. According to officials with the Waxahachie Independent School District, 20 children were on the bus, most of them ages 10 or 11. En route to Clift Elementary School near Farm-to-Market Road 879 and Ike Road, the bus crashed at approximately 6:50 a.m. Initially it was reported that the bus driver was distracted by activity in the back of the bus which caused him to avert his eyes from the road. While maneuvering a turn, a rear wheel of the bus went off the road. The driver overcorrected, swerving into the opposite lane; and the bus tipped over as it stopped in a ditch. The ongoing investigation released a report that the crash occurred because the driver was either falling asleep or was sleeping while driving. He has been placed on administrative leave.
Fifteen students were transported to Children’s Medical Center in Dallas following the crash. None suffered life-threatening injuries. The worst injuries were broken bones, bruised kidneys, scrapes, and cuts. Ten-year-old Fernando Rocha spent the night at the hospital with two broken ribs, a bruised kidney, and possibly a bruised liver. His 8-year-old brother received stitches and was sent home; the cuts were caused by broken glass and debris.
Eight of the students were treated at the hospital for abdominal problems as well as head and neck pain, according to media relations spokesperson Randy Sachs with the hospital.
Seven children and the driver were transported to the hospital by ambulance.
In a news release, Dr. Jeremy Glenn, Waxahachie ISD Superintendent, applauded emergency crews for their speed and efficiency in helping the students and families following the bus crash.
Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper James Colunga pointed out that it was very fortunate no vehicles were in the opposite lane when the bus crossed over. If there had been a second vehicle involved, the outcome would no doubt been far more tragic.
Bus drivers, being responsible for more lives than typical drivers, have a greater weight of responsibility and are held to a higher standard. It is alarming to think of bus drivers falling asleep. Read more about the dangers of driving while sleepy in this ongoing series.
September 17th, 2014
An assortment of rides at the Royal Melbourne Show. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
This is the time of year in Texas when many communities have fairs which include roller coasters and other rides. Statistics show that amusement parks are more popular than ever. But a tragedy last week at an agricultural fair in South Australia serves as a grim reminder that rides are not always safe. The odds are definitely in a rider’s favor, but personal injury accidents do happen.
A study by the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Ohio found that, in the 1990 to 2010 decade, 92,000 children had been injured in incidents on amusement rides, which is an average of more than 4,000 injuries annually. Much lower estimates for amusement park injuries were reported by the International Association of Amusement Parks (IAAPA), with 1,200 in 2011 – way down from 2,500 in 2001.
In last week’s accident, an 8-year-old girl seemed to slip from the security of the seat’s safety harness on the Air Maxx 360. A witness said the girl was first hanging off of the ride by her legs and then was catapulted through the air. She was taken to a nearby hospital and died a short time later.
Over the summer, a tree branch derailed a Six Flags roller coaster in Los Angeles. Four people were injured, and two were transported to a hospital for precautionary reasons.
Water slides are the common location for injuries at theme parks, and the most serious water park injury occurred at Waterworld USA in California in 1997. The water slide was suddenly crowded by 33 graduating high school seniors, and the slide collapsed under their weight. A 17-year-old died due to a crushed chest, and all of the others were hospitalized. Seventeen of the students accepted their diplomas in wheelchairs on graduation day.
Action Park in New Jersey has a reputation as the most dangerous and deadly amusement park of all time. There are six known deaths at the water park, which was open from 1978 through 1996. The fatalities were due to electrocution, drowning, heart attack, and one person died a violent death when his his face was smashed into rock.
Read more amusement park tragedies in the ongoing series.
(Texas residents only)
900 Jackson Street Ste 730
Dallas, Texas 75202