Articles Posted in Hit-and-Run Accidents

It  was another incredibly dangerous weekend on our North Texas roads. Intoxicated and hit-and-run drivers killed or injured innocent drivers in Dallas- Fort Worth. These were just the crashes reported in the newspapers:

  • At 9:35 p.m. on Friday, a Ford Focus hit a Kia Sportage, sending it over a guardrail and down a hill. The Kia driver was ejected from his car and died on the scene. The Focus driver was later determined to be under the influence of drugs and was charged with intoxication manslaughter.
  • A hit-and-run in Richardson just before 11 p.m. on Friday night left a motorcyclist with a broken arm. The northbound driver was changing lanes near Prestonwood Drive when they hit the motorcyclist. Police have no leads on the driver.
  • Early Saturday morning an Arlington police officer was treated for injuries after being involved in a crash with a suspected drunk driver. The officer was working to re-open lanes of I-30 after overnight construction.
  • Note that this is only one of the 10 DWI arrests made in Arlington Saturday night. This compares to a typical weekend night of four to six driving while intoxicated arrests, still a ridiculous number.
  • At 9 p.m. Saturday in Dallas, a man died after his speeding SUV spun out of control and careened into a ditch, ejecting him from the car. The driver was not wearing a seat belt and alcohol presumably played a role in the crash.
  • A collision on Berry Street in Fort Worth early Sunday morning tragically killed a woman and left a child critically injured.
  • Early Sunday morning, a wrong-way driver killed a man on I-30 in Grand Prairie. At around 5 a.m. a woman driving east in the westbound lane struck another car, killing its driver on the scene and shutting down I-30 for nearly five hours. The woman is in critical condition and police suspect alcohol was involved.
  • Note that this accident is the second fatal accident in January in Grand Prairie.

These are just a few of the hundreds of accidents across North Texas in January.

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1027 suspect 1_1477591841359_6651464_ver1.0Two women were sitting outside of a restaurant in Flower Mound last week when a black Kia suddenly jumped the curve and crashed into the women! And as if this weren’t horrible enough, the driver fled the scene.

Because of video camera footage (shown here), the driver was easy to identify. The 46-year-old man finally turned himself into police yesterday.

Let’s hope he gets nailed in the criminal and civil courts. It would only be fair that he serves time, he/his insurance company pays a large civil judgment, he loses his driver’s license, and/or has to pay much higher rates through the high risk Texas Automobile Insurance Plan.

Stories like this — there are hundreds each year in Dallas-Fort Worth — anger me  My firm is currently representing clients in four of these cases.  In one we just were hired on, my injured client and four men in the other car were taken to JPS Hospital and they walked out the door.  In another, a car crashed into my client’s car at a light in Arlington and the at-fault driver and his passenger ran away on foot.

Outrageous, right?

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Heckert_Ft 2What if you’re driving on I-30 and get rear ended — and then the other car speeds away?

Don’t think this happens here? Last night a man rammed his truck into another car in north Fort Worth and peeled out only to flip it over and die.

I’ve been representing people hurt in these hit and run cases for 36 years in Fort Worth and this is the craziest ending to one I’ve heard of.

Why do drivers flee the scene of a crash?

They panic. They want to avoid civil liability and criminal prosecution. They know they may be jailed, sued in civil court, cancelled from their insurance policy, and/or pay a higher rate. They may have a prior criminal record, be drunk or stoned, and/or have no insurance.

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jim-terry_1467735294547_3761317_ver1.0-1Victim on his way to work; driver on his way home from drinking

Denton County jail Officer Jim Terry was riding his motorcycle to work on Sunday when he was hit by a car. The driver of that car, Oscar Salmaron, then sped off.

Terry’s colleagues at the Denton County Sheriffs Department quickly arrested 42 year-old Salmaron. No surprise, he was drunk.

The intoxicated man was also responsible for another hit-and-run crash just before barreling into Terry’s motorcycle.

Terry remains in critical condition, with multiple fractures and other extensive injuries that will require surgeries and extensive rehabilitation, according to a GoFundMe account set up by his coworkers at the Denton County jail.

Salmaron was brought to the Denton County jail on charges of intoxication assault with a vehicle causing serious bodily injury and fleeing the scene of a crash. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has also placed a hold on him.

On a related subject, I just met a young man to give him his substantial settlement proceeds. He was injured by an intoxicated driver who had spent all afternoon watching his LSU football team play in a bowl game.

In addition, I was just called to represent a young woman critically injured by her drunk driver in Dallas this weekend. She is still in ICU.

These stories — all too routine around Dallas-Fort Worth these days — anger me.

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Brandie Gage posted this Facebook photo after her husband Trevor Gage was killed in hit-and-run crash.

Trevor Gage was killed in a hit-and-run crash (shown here with his wife)

Road Rage Claims One Of Our Finest

Yesterday a White Settlement firefighter tragically died after his motorcycle was intentionally struck by a pickup truck on Spur 341 the day before.

If this weren’t horrifying enough, the hit-and-run driver then sped off without stopping to check on the young man who selflessly helped people in need every day.

Police are looking for the driver, a Mexican-American man with slicked-back hair, as well his black Ford F-150 Super Crew pick-up truck with scrape marks along the passenger side bed of the truck.

The truck driver had chased the firefighter and another motorcyclist for miles down Interstate 30, starting near my office building on University, before trying to run over both of them.

The 30 year old man left behind a wife and three children. One has medical problems. A go fund me account has been set up to pay for his family’s expenses. I urge others to also contribute.

Texas law requires driver to stop at crash scene

A driver who flees faces felony criminal charges if the crash causes injuries or death. Texas passed a law increasing the penalties of hit-and-run crashes several years ago after lawmakers finally acknowledged that a drunk driver had the opportunity to sober up and avoid a DUI charge — or escape jail altogether.

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Another deadly crash in North Texas

Early on Sunday morning, the life of a beautiful 21-year-old woman who had just moved to Dallas was cut short on Central Expressway. She was a passenger in a car driven by her best friend when they were struck by a driver, possibly drunk.

After they got out on the median, an Audi hit the young woman. That driver fled the scene but police found the abandoned Audi and arrested another 21-year-old. Here’s the article from the Dallas Morning News about this tragic intoxication manslaughter crash.

What happens if the family of the deceased woman has to file a lawsuit against driver to recover the estate’s damages and she refuses to cooperate with her insurance company or her liability carrier claims that she is excluded from coverage based on a technicality?

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car crash -- upset guy

Every accident has a unique set of circumstances that requires a tailor-made strategy. During my 35 years in practice, I have seen many complex crashes involving uninsured, under insured, hit-and-run drivers and crazy ways wrecks can happen. My goal is to help my clients obtain the maximum possible recovery in all situations including the following.

Accident caused by uninsured driver

Some reports show that more than 20% of drivers in Texas do not carry the required liability insurance. Some drivers buy a month-to-month policy then stop making payments or exclude coverage on certain drivers, making the numbers hard to verify. But there are far too many people with no means to pay for the vehicle damage and personal injuries they cause.

After an accident with an uninsured driver, you may feel like you are left holding the bag. After all, a driver with no insurance likely also has not assets to collect on. But, you have options to recover your damages, including your medical bills and lost wages.

First, we look at your own insurance policies, such as personal injury policy (PIP) or uninsured/under insured motorists policy (UM/ UIM). We can pursue damages from a third party who may have contributed to your accident. In addition, we negotiate with your medical providers to your reduce doctors and hospital bills.

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car crash -- two car collision

A Qualified Personal Injury Lawyer Can Minimize the Adverse Impact on Your Health and Finances

Getting in a car wreck is bad enough, but when the driver is uninsured or flees the scene, you also can get stuck with thousands of dollars in medical bills, tow truck, storage, and car repair expenses.

An accident caused by an uninsured driver can hurt you for years to come. But you may have several options available to you to minimize the adverse effects.

Without question, you should hire an aggressive personal injury attorney. He or she will investigate the facts and hopefully find that the other driver was covered by an insurance policy. He will quickly determine whether your own auto insurance company has a duty to pay on your claim and then pursue the maximum amount of your coverage. Finally, he will investigate whether a third party may be liable for the accident — for example, an automobile manufacturer that produced a defective vehicle.

While pursuing your options for recovery, a good attorney will also negotiate with your medical providers to reduce your bills. This can save you thousands of dollars in medical bills. The lawyer can arrange for continued care since you may not have the means to pay for necessary medical treatments and rehabilitation.

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Fiery crash.jpg

Husband Charged with Intoxication Manslaughter 

Here’s one of those stories that makes me angry: a 43 year-old woman tragically died early Sunday morning in a fiery car crash due to her intoxicated husband. The couple was involved in a single vehicle wreck at the 15200 block of State Highway 183 near the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport at around 2:30 a.m. 43 year-old Juan Salinas was behind the wheel when the truck swerved into a ditch. 

When police arrived, the truck was on fire. Good Samaritans pulled Juan from the truck and ran back to help his wife, Elva Salinas, but the truck was already engulfed in flames and they were unable to reach her. Elva was pronounced dead at the scene. 

Juan was transported to a local hospital for treatment of serious, but non-life threatening, injuries. Although he is expected to recover from his injuries, he will have to live with the fact that his decision to drive drunk resulted in his wife’s death. In addition, he faces intoxication manslaughter charges. I hope he gets a stiff sentence.

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Driver An Advocate For Injured Workers

An Austin couple was crossing a service road next to Interstate 35 last Saturday night when a black Porsche sped through a U-turn and struck the man. Police arrived to find the Ernesto Gonzales with head injuries and deep lacerations all over his body. 

The driver was nowhere to be seen, having fled the scene of the wreck. However a witness recorded the license plate of the hit-and-run vehicle, which police traced back to a residence.  Investigators matched the address to the house — also the office — of Brian White. 

Police found a damaged black Porsche with this license plate parked outside in his driveway. The windshield had a “basketball-sized indention, which was shattered, caved-in and had bits of blood and flesh imbedded in the broken glass.” The police report also describes blood and handprints on the driver’s side mirror and scuffs on the hood and front fender. 

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