January 2009 Archives
Last Wednesday, 16-year-old Chelsea Lunt was texting on her way to Decatur High School just before losing control of her pickup truck. The truck flipped five times after she tried to overcorrect it before landing in the ditch on U.S. 81/287, just short of the FM 730 exit. Lunt was killed instantly in the car accident. Although she was wearing a seat belt, her body was partially ejected and she suffered major head injuries.
Lunt was on her way to track practice and had been texting a boy during the drive. 11 messages had been sent to the boy on her drive to school—the last was at 6:51 a.m.—the time of the accident, which was called in two minutes later.
Witness statements revealed that the sophomore had been swerving in her lane, an indication that she might have been distracted by something. An accident investigation, which will continue for weeks as police await test results, revealed that texting was the absolute cause of the tragic wreck.
According to an article published a year ago in U.S. News and World Report, approximately 20 percent of people on the roads were texting while driving. I'm sure that number has increased in the last year. Already, texting and driving has been banned in New Jersey and Washington, and 16 other states were considering legislation that would ban the distracting activity. Most of these states are in the Midwest and on the East Coast, but unfortunately, Texas is not among them.
The good news is Texas does recognize texting—and using a cell phone in general, while driving as dangerous. Already, several cities in North Texas ban the use of cell phones, including texting, in school zones. Hopefully, our state will jump on board soon as far as extending the ban to major roads and highways.
Funeral services for Lunt—a star athlete in volleyball and track, were Saturday in Decatur, Texas.
Information provided by Fort Worth Personal Injury Attorney Mark A. Anderson.
Southlake, Texas is the latest city in the Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas area to ban car cell phone use in school zones. The city is just one of many to jump on the bandwagon in the last few months making it illegal to talk or text near schools. The ban will take effect just as soon as signs can be posted. If caught, violators face a $200 fine. The new law, like the ones in nearby Texas cities—Dallas, Denton, Hurst, Flower Mound, University Park, Watauga, Irving, Duncanville and Rowlett, not only bans people from talking on their hand-held devices, but also from sending and receiving text-messages. Drivers are allowed to talk on hands-free devises, however.
I think these bans are great ideas. It is really a minimal intrusion on the rights of people to stop talking on cell phones for a moment. This law can really save lives and prevent injuries to children. The Texas Legislature is currently I session. I've heard that a state-wide ban on talking or texting in school zones is up for consideration. I say let's do it! Protecting our kids has to be a higher priority than that one phone call or text.
For more information on bans, car safety, accident prevention and cell phone statistics while driving, visit the National Highway Safety Web site.
Information provided by Fort Worth Accident Attorney Mark A. Anderson.
Just after 9 p.m. last night, two motorcyclists on separate bikes were killed in the westbound lanes of Highway 183 just past Loop 12 in Irving, Texas. Apparently road debris caused portions of the busy road to be temporarily closed, resulting in back-ups and heavy traffic. Witnesses said they saw the two cyclists weaving in and out of traffic to avoid the congestion just before the motorcycle crash. The accident facts are still unclear, but the cause of the wreck happened when both bikes collided into the back of a minivan.
The wreck, which happened near Texas Stadium, closed down Highway 183 for hours Sunday night as an accident investigation was conducted. Traffic was diverted off of the westbound lanes onto Loop 12 and a service road.
News reports have not revealed what type of bikes the 21-year-old woman and 42-year-old man were riding at the time of the wreck. Last year, sport bike riding at high speeds was the cause of several Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas deaths. An investigation will further reveal the facts of this tragic accident.
For the full story, watch WFAA Channel 8's live coverage.
Contact Fort Worth Motorcycle Accident Attorney Mark A. Anderson at 817-294-1900.
Just after 3 p.m. yesterday, U.S. Airways flight 1549 taking off from La Guardia Airport in New York and heading to Charlotte, North Carolina was forced to make a crash landing into the Hudson River. Miraculously, all 150 passengers and five crew members survived and only suffered minor injuries. Shortly after take-off, the plane ran into some birds which got stuck in the engines, causing two of them to fail. The SAS Airbus A320 was brought down so carefully and at such an angle, that pilot, Chesley B. "Sully" Sullenberger kept the plane from submerging. Nearby ferries in the river were then able to arrive quickly and rescue the passengers from the wings of the plane. The temperature outside was 19 degrees Fahrenheit and the water was 40 degrees. Thanks to a quick rescue, few passengers suffered minor hypothermia and most just walked away with bruises.
Photo courtesy of ABC News
The pilot is now being hailed as the Hudson River Hero because of the incredible way in which he averted crisis and stayed calm while keeping everyone safe. Sullenberger has had many years experience and training in air crisis management and was able to put his skills to good use. Many are saying the plane was extremely lucky to have the pilot it did in that particular situation as he was highly trained and prepared for an accident such as this.
While some might see this as an opportunity to make a claim against U.S. Airways for recovering damages and pain and suffering, it is my opinion that those on board should be grateful to be alive. It appears that the circumstances which caused the engines to fail were completely out of the airline's control.
In the past, I have written about freak accidents like the military jet that crashed into the San Diego home or the helicopter that fell into a Wisconsin home as the family slept, and in cases like those where people were killed or could have been killed innocently in their homes, a wrongful death claim might be more appropriate. The people on the airbus yesterday are undoubtedly thankful to walk away unharmed and with a heck of a story to tell.
If you have been personally injured as the result of someone else's negligence, I'd be happy to talk to you about your rights. Contact Fort Worth Personal Injury Attorney Mark A. Anderson at 817-294-1900.
In a massive recall which will surely send concerned parents scrambling to see what kind of crib they own, the Canadian company Stork Craft has recalled over a half a million cribs due to defective metal brackets. These brackets are now known to sometimes break, causing the mattress to collapse and possibly cause an injury to a child who might become entrapped and suffocate.
The recall was announced yesterday by the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission. It involves all Stork Craft Baby Cribs with manufacturing and distribution dates between May 2000 and November 2008. The cribs were sold by major retailers including J.C. Penny, Wal-Mart and K-Mart and online at Babiesrus.com, Costco.com, Sears.com and Walmart.com.
The CPSC urges parents to immediately stop using the cribs in the recall. You can contact the company for a replacement kit. Their site is www.storkcraft.com, but I tried and could not log on to the site, presumably due to heavy traffic. Their toll free number is 866-361-3321.
Click here for a copy of the Recall Notice
Information provided by Fort Worth Injury Lawyer Mark A. Anderson
In separate news stories, it was reported today that intoxication manslaughter charges have been brought against a Bedford woman and an Arlington woman whose reckless acts of driving while intoxicated resulted in two preventable deaths. First of all, the Dallas Morning News reported that the Arlington woman had almost double the level of allowable alcohol in her blood when she crashed into a guardrail on October 13, 2008. A motorcycle rider from Justin crashed into her wrecked car (which did not have its lights on). The crash killed the motorcycle rider. This lady was just now arrested and faces up to 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. I had blogged about this accident back in October.
Today's Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported that late Sunday night a drunk driver of a Chevrolet Blazer ran a red light on Green Oaks Road in Arlington and ran into a Dodge Avenger, killing the driver and critically injuring the passenger. This lady faces both intoxication manslaughter and intoxication assault charges.
Unfortunately, Texas has a big problem with drunk drivers. Every five hours someone dies in our state as a result of a drunk driver. We have to do something to get these drunk drivers off the road. And it is not as if all of these accidents occur in the middle of the night. The Arlington accident occurred at 11 p.m. And I have seen plenty of drunk driving accidents occur during the middle of the day. The site Alcohol Alert has some other drunk driving statistics worth reviewing.
If you or a loved one has been injured or suffered a wrongful death as a result of a drunk driver, feel free to contact the Anderson Law Firm if you have questions regarding your legal rights. Call 817-294-1900 or Contact Us Online.
The State of Texas closed a licensed, but severely overcrowded Denton home-based day care center after a four month old girl was found unconscious and later died. According to the Tarrant County Medical Examiner's office in Fort Worth, the cause of death is pending.
According to Texas law, day care centers in homes are required to be licensed and can have up to twelve children. The Denton business, called 2 Kool 4 School Kids Club, had 30 kids at the home—more than twice the amount allowed. This business was licensed in August to care for children from infants to school age. No violations had been noted during the time the day care had been in operation.
While this death is under investigation, the State's investigator did not see any evidence of foul play. But one has to wonder about the over capacity issue. The limits on the number of children allowed are there for a reason. To have over double the state limit, it seems likely that the employees were not in a position to adequately supervise the children.