Articles Posted in Wrongful Death

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We don’t know why every weekend produces another round of fatal car and truck crashes across the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Or why we treat this news as if it is inevitable. Or that there is nothing we can do about it. But we all know that it can be frightening to drive on our North Texas highways. This past weekend produced more tragedies including these:

  • South of Fort Worth: two people lost their lives in Burleson Sunday evening at 6:30 when a car traveling north on Interstate 35 crossed through the cable barrier and hit a southbound vehicle head-on. Two people in the north-bound car perished and other people were injured, some critically.
  • South Dallas: a woman crashed into a truck and car that had already collided and were on the shoulder on Interstate 20, taking her life.

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The Texas Longhorns and its huge fan base (including Mr. Berenson who graduated from the University of Texas in 1976) are in mourning after learning that Cedric Benson died in a motorcycle crash in Austin Saturday night. What a terrible way to begin the football season.

Cedric was one of the best running backs in the history of Texas high school and the University, then played eight years in the NFL with the Bears, Bengals, and Packers. He was 36 years old. We extend my condolences to his family and the family of his passenger who also died at the scene.

We at Berenson Injury Law want our roads to be safer for all motorists, including for those who ride motorcycles. You have to ask

  1. Why does Texas have more fatal crashes than any other state?
  2. Why do about 500 people die each year riding their motorcycles in Texas
  3. What causes us to be #1 in this terrible category?
  4. How can we stop so many motorcycle riders and other motorists from dying and being injured on our roads? Continue reading

Drunk DrivingCarolyn Davis died and her daughter is in critical condition after a Mazda SUV crashed head-on into their car. The horrific wreck in Oak Cliff is just the latest DWI crash in North Texas.

And here is an even worse part of this story, if that is possible. The drunk driver, a 36-year-old man, had already been arrested at least three times for DWI. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison after his most recent conviction. But the sentence was suspended because he agreed to drive a vehicle that had an ignition interlock device. Just last week, he completed his probation and the device was removed from his vehicle. This tragedy was a few days later.

UPDATED 7/18 – This tragedy worsened when Melissa Lashan Davis-Nunn died last night in the hospital. The drunk driver has been charged with two counts of intoxication manslaughter. The drunk told police that he had taken Xanax and claimed he was riding with two others, although no other passengers were found at the scene. and was joking with a nurse that he was there for a penile enhancemenet procedure.

As we are often wondering on this blog, what in the world is going on out there? And how can we keep the same catastrophes from happening again?

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fort-worth-car-crash12 road fatalities in Fort Worth and Dallas area in just the last 5 days! (Edited)

It is shocking that over 3,500 people die on Texas roads each year — many of them here in North Texas. These stories are heart-breaking:

1. Yesterday a crash between an 18-wheeler and a Corvette sadly claimed the life of a 26-year-old man in Fort Worth. Two others were injured, one critically. The crash shut down Loop 820 in the eastbound direction near the I-35 interchange for hours. It is not known what caused the crash.

I send my condolences and prayers to the man’s family and to the victims. I was chilled to read about this crash since I filed a lawsuit several years ago against the large company responsible for the death of a man at almost that same location and went there several times to investigate the scene.

2. Last night in south Dallas, a pick up truck driver ran a light, crashed into a SUV making a left turn at an intersection, and took the lives of a mother and her 6-year-old son. The young man driving the truck was DWI. He faces intoxication manslaughter charges.

3. Earlier yesterday a traffic wreck in south Grand Prairie caused another fatality when a driver lost control of his car on a wet road and collided head-on onto an oncoming car.

4. On Sunday two people lost their lives in a Glen Rose crash.

5. And I am helping the family of a woman who was killed in Dallas several weeks ago and two other people who were injured, one seriously. A man who was DWI — at only 4:00 in the afternoon — crashed into the three women as they were getting out of their car. The drunk fled the scene. Fortunately he was apprehended and is in the Dallas County jail. Since he only has the standard liability policy and there is only a standard underinsured policy, I am representing the family and victims at no charge. I hope that he is given a long prison sentence.

Updated Friday:

6. Yesterday afternoon, two young men died in Dallas when one of them was drag racing with another car and lost control, causing him to hit a guard rail and bounce off into oncoming traffic.

7. And last light a violent crash on I-20 in Arlington was caused by an intoxicated driver who ran off the road and hit two people — a young woman and her father who had come to rescue her — who were standing outside her car. They and another person inside the car lost their lives. The cars exploded and a fire storm erupted that could have caused more deaths. As if this tragedy were not devastating enough, a police officer rushing to the scene was involved in a collision and seriously injured.

8. Today a Grand Prairie Police officer was standing outside of his patrol vehicle with his radar gun out when he was tragically struck and killed by a 17-year-old kid racing a sports car on the George Bush Turnpike in broad daylight.

What in the world is going on out there? The wrongful death count on DFW roads is out of control.

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highway-crashThis weekend’s fatal crashes on I-35 show the need for increased safety measures

North Texas highways are unfortunately the scene of many serious injury and fatal car and truck crashes. Just in the past two days, a tragic Fort Worth accident took the life of a woman on I-35 near Rosedale Street on Friday night. And last night, a Dallas crash sadly took the life of a woman who was not able to avoid hitting a disabled SUV on I-35 near Medical District Drive north of downtown. This weekend reinforced why drivers should try to avoid driving on interstates if possible, especially at night.

Since all of our local highways are more jammed than ever with cars, trucks and 18-wheelers due to our region’s explosive growth, the only possible answer for why I-35 is so dangerous is increased trade due to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). As a result, we have more and more commercial trucks driving up and down the the highway to deliver goods from Mexico. And we have more trucks because of increased deliveries from purchases from Amazon and other online merchants. Plus it seems that I-35 is always under construction, at least here in Fort Worth where we have been in the midst of a frustrating widening for the past five years.

Adding to these perils, tractor trailers and other large commercial trucks drive with relative impunity. We see them tailgating and trying to run drivers off the road, speeding, failing to stay in their lanes – presumably because the driver is texting while driving or at least using his cell phone in violation of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations – and driving while being exhausted. You rarely seem them pulled over for doing this. I call on Texas law enforcement to increase the number of patrol officers and other traffic safety techniques to make truck drivers obey traffic laws.

I also urge our state legislators to fix these problems. The Texas Tribune described several proposed laws that would help remedy this embarrassing title. None of these bills is apparently going to pass in the legislature days from concluding its biennial session.

Dallas interstates are especially dangerous and lead to far too many wrongful deaths. Most were listed in the top 100 deadliest highways list, with I-35 being one of the highest in the country at #13 and I-45 right behind it at #14.

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The latest DWI deaths in Texas hit home on Saturday night when a Frisco family driving on I-35 south of Austin was crashed into by a Dodge pickup. Two beautiful sisters, Hayden Weissman, who was 18, and Peyton Weissman, who was 16, tragically lost their lives. Their father, his girlfriend, and another sister were also injured.

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To make this horrific crash even more maddening, Macario M. Hernandez, 61, ran away from the scene. Fortunately he was apprehended and is in the Hays County jail with a bail set at $250,000. At least he’s not getting back on our highways any time soon. Still worse, if that is possible, Hernandez had been arrested for DWI a shocking three times in the past.

This is infuriating. How does this keep on happening? And how can we stop the never-ending pattern of this never-ending carnage on our highways?

MedStar-ambulanceA chain reaction on Interstate 20 at the interchange with Interstate 35 tragically ended Wednesday night despite the valiant efforts of two paramedics. A Fort Worth fatal crash tragically took the life of a young woman and her unborn child. But this disaster could have been much worse.

Two MedStar paramedics, Miguel Brito and Ryan Bader, saw her car on fire as they were driving by in their ambulance. They were able to use their fire extinguishers to put out the flames, break the glass, and rescue two people trapped inside who had had lost consciousness. One man was even wedged under the dashboard. Gas was spewing out of a ruptured tank. A passing motorist jumped out and helped grab one of the men out of the car.

The two victims were rushed to John Peter Smith Hospital in critical condition. The EMTs also rescued a third person who suffered minor injuries.

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“Car accidents” are not accidents. They are intentionally caused by careless and reckless driving, often speeding. A driver doesn’t accidentally speed or run a red light. Car CRASHES caused by a driver who chooses to exceed the speed limit needlessly claim the lives of countless victims each year. In the United States, car accident deaths took the lives of 37,133 people, with speeding responsible for almost 10,000 deaths in 2017.

Car accident deaths caused by speeding drivers happen here all the time

DFW and Texas are meccas for speeders. In just the latest shocking stories reported in the press in the last few days:

How can we stop the epidemic of Texas traffic deaths?

Car and truck accidents take the lives of thousands of Texans each year. Naturally, most of us don’t stop to think how devastating driving can be until it affects us personally. For example, in less than one hour early on Sunday morning, these three residents of our area tragically died on or near Interstate 20: a 16-year-old girl in South Dallas, an Arlington man, and a former running back from Mansfield who played for the University of Iowa. These Texas traffic deaths are heart-breaking. We at Berenson Injury Law send our sincerest condolences to the families of the deceased.

But on a brighter note, there was a little good news on our roads we can share. Our streets were a little safer in 2018. Texas traffic deaths declined by four percent from 3,720 people to only 3,567, according to a new report.Demolished-vehicle-death-texas

What caused this to happen? The only thing that was different is that our state legislature finally passed a law that banned some texting while driving.

But the number of Texas traffic deaths is still extremely high.

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Tragic Reminder: Dallas Hit and Run Driver Sentenced on Monday

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On Christmas Eve, a 31-year-old man was found guilty of manslaughter and failing to stop and render aid after he crashed into Rachel Lynn Spelman last year on Cedar Springs Road. After hitting her at a speed of 53 in a 30 mph zone, the man kept driving — all the way to Oklahoma. There he repaired the car’s windshield and hid. At trial on Monday, the hit and run driver actually had the nerve to blame his victim for crossing the street in front of him. With his criminal activity, arrogant attitude, and prior history of driving while intoxicated and reckless driving, the judge sentenced him to the maximum 20 years for failing to stop and render aid and 10 years for manslaughter.

This story angers us and would be horrible to read any time, but especially during the holidays. This beautiful woman had just graduated from Texas A & M with a 4.0 average and was working for Hewlett Packard in Plano. And on a personal level, she was a member of the same sorority Mr. Berenson’s daughter, who also works in Plano, was in when she attended Southern Methodist University. We send our sincerest condolences to her family and hope that no other family has to go through this nightmare.

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