The Accident Lawyers Network Blog
Accident Lawyers Network
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
911 Calls Save Passengers on Overturned Boat
A 26-foot boat ran aground due to the darkness of night and the shallowness of a Hudson River marsh and overturned early July 29th near Highland Falls, New York. The boat was carrying five friends who were returning home after eating at a Newburgh restaurant when the accident happened.
One of the five, 25-year-old Steven Vasta, used his cell phone to call 911 as the five were trapped beneath the overturned hull. Vasta let dispatchers know they were trapped. He made two calls, but both were cut off. However, authorities were able to pinpoint the location of the boat and sent in helicopters, boats, and cars from surrounding counties. The wreck was found in waist-high water.
Although the rescuers were able to save four of the five, tragically Vasta died. The pilot of the boat, John Downey III was treated at a hospital and released. His fiancé, Vanessa Santos and another friend, Marco Almeida, were listed in good condition, while Sean Morris was listed in serious condition. Authorities believe all may have died if it wasn't for Vasta making the emergency calls.
Labels: boating accidents
posted by Neil at 3:15 PM
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Two Charged in Street Racing Deaths
An 18- and a 20-year-old were indicted in the deaths of eight people who were killed during an illegal street race in Maryland last February. Darren Bullock and Tavon Taylor were each charged with eight counts of vehicular manslaughter, street racing, and reckless driving.
Maryland prosecutors allege Bullock was the driver that hit a group of people from behind as they were grouped in the road watching two other cars speed off. They are unsure if Taylor hit anyone. Bullock and Taylor were allegedly driving nearly 110 mph without headlights.
The accident brought to light the illegal street racing subculture in Southern Maryland, and the depth of the attraction surprised state's attorney Glenn Ivey. "I hadn't realized [the attraction] was there," Ivey said.
posted by Neil at 2:55 PM
Friday, July 25, 2008
Texting Driver Who Killed Pedestrian Charged
The 21-year-old driver who struck and killed a pedestrian in May has turned himself in to be charged. Brian Widmayer of Dover Township, Pennsylvania, was texting on his cell phone as he passed through an intersection. Forty-three-year-old David Peters was walking across the street at the time, and was struck and killed.
Investigators found that Peters' body slid over 60 feet after being struck by Widmayer's 2001 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo. Widmayer is estimated to have been driving between 30 and 36 mph; the posted speed limit is 25 mph at the intersection where Peters was killed.
Police have said Widmayer both received and sent a text in the same minute the accident occurred. After striking Peters, Widmayer drove through the intersection, turned the corner, and stopped to call 911.
Widmayer has been charged with reckless driving, careless driving, careless driving resulting in death, driving without a license, and accident involving death or injury while not properly licensed.
Anyone who has their license had to take driver's ed at some point early on. And many people who have been involved in accidents are required to take it again. One of the things we learn in driver's ed is just how quickly things can change. It only takes seconds to become involved in an accident, which is why we're supposed to pay attention. While texting has become an important way to communicate for many people, texting while driving, even if you have the green light (as Widmayer apparently did) is obviously a very stupid thing to do.
posted by Neil at 1:41 PM
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Columnist Robert Novak Hits Pedestrian
Famous, or notorious, newspaper columnist Robert Novak hit a pedestrian while driving in downtown Washington, D.C. today. The 77-year-old was driving his black Corvette near K Street when the accident occurred. According to D.C. fire department spokesman Alan Etter, the pedestrian was taken to the hospital with minor injuries.
Novak, who claims he had no idea he hit anyone, continued driving until he was stopped by a bicyclist. The bicyclist, who witnessed the collision, told the AP that the pedestrian was hit in a crosswalk and splayed across Novak's windshield.
If this is the case, what are we to make of Novak's claim he didn't realize what was happening? Age? The "I-don't-recollect" excuse used by politicians and their ilk as they're hauled before Senate subcommittees? Or maybe he just ignored the whole thing. After all, he's Robert Novak. Regardless, he was cited for failing to yield the right of way and given a $50 fine. Novak apparently feels "terrible" about the whole thing.
Novak became a household name as his column outed CIA covert ops officer Valerie Plame through his unnamed sources. He also testified in the I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby trial as a result of the Plame fallout.
posted by Neil at 1:19 PM
Monday, July 21, 2008
Investigation Begins at Houston Crane Collapse
Investigators with OSHA have begun looking into what caused a massive crane to collapse in Houston on Friday, July 18, killing four workers and injuring seven others. The 30-story crane, which can lift up to a million pounds, collapsed at an oil refinery run by LyondellBasell. According to OSHA investigators, at this point it is too early to determine what caused the collapse.
LyondellBasell officials say the crane collapsed during maintenance, and was not scheduled for any work until this week. It has been noted that the engine was idling after the crane hit the ground. Deep South Crane & Rigging of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, owner of the crane, said they will cooperate fully with the federal investigation.
This collapse adds to the unusually high number of crane accidents that have been reported in places like New York City, Las Vegas, and Miami. Nine people have died so far this year in New York City as a result of collapsing cranes.
The Associated Press has noted that cities and states with rules governing construction cranes vary wildly. Some states have no guidelines at all for cranes, and look to federal guidelines that are almost 40 years old. Experts say these guidelines have not kept up with advances in technology.
A lawsuit has already been filed on behalf of Grant Pasek, who was injured when he jumped from an elevated bucket as the crane began to collapse. The lawsuit seeks a restraining order to preserve evidence, as well as the scene of the collapse.
Labels: construction accidents
posted by Neil at 9:30 AM
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Workers Electrocuted Setting Up Scaffolding
Three construction workers were electrocuted in Murrysville, Pennsylvania today while setting up scaffolding outside a home. Two of the workers died and the third suffered a burn on his leg.
The three had been working at the home all week long. As they were setting up the scaffolding, one of the beams got away from them. They tried to control it, but the beam hit a high-voltage wire. Murrysville Police Chief Thomas Seefeld believes all three had their hands on the beam when it touched the power line.
A pediatrician and nurses ran from the building next door to try to revive the men. The two who died were in cardiac arrest as they were transported to the hospital where they were declared dead. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating.
Workplace electrocutions, while uncommon, are a danger in many jobs. Construction workers bear the brunt of electrocutions at the workplace, although anyone who works around high-voltage power lines is at risk.
Labels: construction accidents
posted by Neil at 11:32 AM
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Five Killed in California SUV Truck Accident
An SUV carrying six people crashed with a septic tank truck before both vehicles plunged into the Delta-Mendota Canal outside Westley, California on Tuesday. Five people are confirmed dead, and two are presumed to have died, though their bodies haven't been found. Police believe the missing bodies may have floated down the canal, have called off the search, and are waiting for them to float up.
According to witnesses, the SUV, carrying migrant workers, failed to stop at a stop sign and the septic truck was speeding. Both vehicles then smashed through a guardrail and plunged into the 20-foot deep canal.
Families of the deceased believe the police took too long to try to save those involved in the accident. However, police say it took 45 minutes for the dive team to get to the accident scene and the canal is known for its depth and the speed of the water, and any mistake could have ended in death for the dive team members.
According to Francis Mizuno of the San Luis Delta-Mendota Water Authority, there is an average of one accident a year at the canal.
posted by Neil at 8:23 AM
Friday, July 11, 2008
New Maine Law May Increase Fatal Accident Punishment
A new Maine statute went into effect on June 30th that could punish those involved in fatal auto accidents if there is evidence that finds a driver acted "negligently" or "recklessly." Rep. Walter Wheeler, who sponsored the bill, says this will hold those involved in fatal accident more accountable if they caused someone's death. One of the reasons Wheeler sponsored the bill is because he believes current vehicular manslaughter laws are not as tough as they should be.
The new statute will allow the Secretary of State to suspend a person's license for at least three years. While it may be easier for drivers to be punished if they are found to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the new statute may punish those who fall asleep at the wheel or weren't paying attention at the time of the accident.
However, this bill may have no effect on those accidents that occurred before 2008. This is cold comfort to the family of Berwick, Maine resident Deborah Archer, who was struck and killed in a hit and run. The driver of the van that hit Archer, Jason Brooks, was caught almost a month later. The charges filed against Brooks were $2000 bail and a class C charge of leaving the scene of an accident. Archer's family calls this a "mockery" and hopes the new law will have some effect on this case. However, Hancock County District Attorney Mike Povich says the charge is appropriate because the class C charge can land Brooks in prison for five years. Povich wonders at what point the act that causes the death should be criminalized. For example, does someone talking on the cell phone while they're driving constitute a criminal act if they are involved in an accident?
Povich also states that there used to be a law where a person was guilty of manslaughter if the driver "knowingly, negligently, or recklessly killed someone while they were committing a traffic infraction." The ten year prison penalty for this was repealed in 1997. The problem was that every driving infraction was a crime in cases where someone was killed, but the drivers were not necessarily being negligent, reckless, or otherwise trying to endanger when the accident took place. Povich admits that prosecutors had a difficult time due to lack of evidence, and that everything was labeled a crime.
Labels: auto accidents
posted by Neil at 2:30 PM
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
$5.64 Million Awarded to Girl Injured in Accident
Twenty-one-year old Teresa Gonzalez has been awarded $5.64 million in a personal injury lawsuit stemming from an accident that occurred in 2001 in California. Teresa was only 15 when the family van she was riding in was hit by a commercial truck. The Dresick Farms truck allegedly ran a stop sign, hit the Gonzalez family van, which rolled several times. Teresa was literally struck in the face by the impact.
As a result of the accident, Teresa has endured over 20 facial surgeries to repair the damage done. She suffered several fractures to her skull and face, as well as a mild traumatic brain injury. Dresick Farms fought liability, but admitted responsibility shortly before the case was to go to trial. The trial lasted one month and was held solely to determine the amount Teresa was to receive.
The $5.62 million is thought to be the largest personal injury verdict in the history of Imperial County, California.
posted by Neil at 1:18 PM
Monday, July 7, 2008
Surfer Loses Arm after Being Struck by Boat
A 14-year-old lost his left arm on Sunday as he was surfing off the coast of Pacific City, Oregon after being hit by a boat. Cole Ortega was with his sister and her boyfriend when a dory boat sped toward the shore. Ortega was struck and lost his arm between his shoulder and elbow.
Ortega was helped into shore and his arm was retrieved from the ocean. A nurse and two doctors happened to be at the beach and immediately began treating Ortega. The weather was reportedly "rough" and made a good day for surfing, but not for boating. Another surfer said though the waves were high and Ortega couldn't see above them, the driver of the boat, 55-year-old Darrel Martin, didn't honk his horn or do anything else to alert surfers he was near.
Boaters claim they used a spotter on the beach to signal that everything was clear so they could run straight up to the beach. Cape Kiwanda, where the accident occurred, is a popular surfing location and home to a fleet of dory boats used for fishing. Surfers claim that problems with boats have been ongoing because there seems to be no management. "We've been saying for years, this is going to happen," said one of the surfers.
The dory is a small, shallow-draft boat about 15 to 20 feet in length. It is lightweight and diverse enough to use for whitewater rafting and commercial fishing.
According to the U.S Coast Guard, the latest statistics show that 239 people were struck by propellers or motors of boats in 2005 with 31 fatalities. If you or a loved one has been injured when you were struck by a boat, please contact the Accident Lawyers Network to find an experienced injury lawyer in your area.
Labels: boating accidents
posted by Neil at 11:47 AM
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