16-year-old Winston Ward of Southlake died as a result of a drowing incident at the Omni Hotel in Fort Worth on Saturday, June 20, 2009. Police responded to a 911 hang-up call. Police say the teen was swimming in a pool on the third floor when someone saw him floating underwater and pulled him from the pool. No details have been released yet as to the suspected cause for the drowning.
Hopefully, you will never be faced with this heartbreaking loss, but if you are, you should consider hiring Irving attorneyes Montes Herald Law Group, L.L.P. to investigate the incident and to hold those who are responsible for the loss of your family members. In a premises liability claim such as this it is important to begin an investigation as soon as possible. If you or a family member has been seriously injured or killed while at a hotel or other business, contact Rachel Montes and Thomas Herald at Montes Herald Law Group, LLP immediately and visit our website at www.MontesLawGroup.com for more information about “premises liability” cases we handle.
Hannah Jung, 23, of Plano and Hannah Hong, 23, of Richardson are the latest victims of what has become a rash of high-speed, head-on collisions on the Dallas North Tollway. As our blog has been reporting, there have been a recent rash of deadly wrong-way collisions on the tollroad in just the past few months. All of these collision are believed to involve drunk driving. Authorities have indicated that Hannah Jung was in the intensive-care unit at Parkland Hospital and that Hannah Hong was also taken to Parkland for treatment of her injuries before being released to recover to follow up with her own doctors.
Ryan Matthew of Dallas (27) is the latest driver that is believed to have been driving under the influence and driving the wrong direction at 1:45 A.M. Sunday, June 21, 2009 on the Dallas North Tollway, and to cause a head-on collision that severely injured 3 people. The wrong-way driver, Ryan Matthew of Dallas, is believed to have driven approximately 10 miles going the wrong direction on the tollroad, going south in the northbound lanes of the tollway beginning near Cotton Gin Road in Frisco, authorities said. Police indicated that it appeared that Hannah Jung had tried to steer to her right to avoid the collision, but was unable to do so. As a result, the primary point of impact for both cars was on the drivers’ side. Photographs of the vehicles on several television reports concerning the incident showed a grewsome and violent collision.
Several motorists reportedly contacted 911 after seeing the wrong-way driver. Mr. Matthew even supposedly nearly struck a police cruiser head-on before eventually colliding with a vehicle driven by Hannah Jung just south of the Bush Turnpike in Plano. Whatever excuse Mr. Matthew may later offer for his wrong-way driving, he clearly disregarded lights from on-coming vehicles, horns and even the lights and siren from the police cruiser that tried to stop Matthew’s Ford Explorer near Parker Road in Plano. “The vehicle did not stop or yield to the emergency vehicle,” according to Sgt. Bernard of the Texas Department of Public. “The trooper had to avoid hitting the vehicle head on.” In response to this rash of wrong-way accidents, the DPS has been doing the DWI task forces. According to the Dallas Morning News, Sgt. Bernard confirmed that all of the recent accidents have involved drivers who were impaired by drugs, alcohol or a combination of both. Toxicology tests have not been released yet for Mr. Matthew.
These wrong way drivers are an enormous hazard. They travel at high speeds directly into the path of vehicles that are also traveling at speeds between 60-70 mph. In this case, witnesses reportedly estimated Matthew was driving at least 70 mph. As a result, it is difficult for police to respond fast enough to such an incident before there is a collision unless the police happen to be in the immediate area. In this case, even though police responded, Mr. Matthews disregarded attempts by state troopers to stop him before the collision. In addition, due to the obvious safety concerns that state troopers have to be aware of, state troopers are not permitted to follow a vehicle going the wrong way as that would put more vehicles on the road-way in jeopardy of a head-on collison. As a result it is very difficult to stop a driver who is so impaired that he or she is unaware that he is traveling in the wrong direction on the highway.
One motorist, Craigg Swift, advised police that he had just entered the tollway southbound from the Bush Turnpike when he saw a car approaching from his rear on the left. Mr. Swift, a Navy medic, stopped his car, ran across the tollway and hopped over the median. Mr. Swift has indicated that upon his arrival, Mr. Matthew was unresponsive, but the two women were able to answer basic questions.
In addition to the incident in which Hannah Jung and Hannah Hong were injured, police report that another incident of wrong-way driving on the Tollroad between Wycliff and Lovers Lane was reported Saturday night. At least three people called 911 between 11:16 p.m. and 11:22 p.m. Saturday to report a motorist going north in the southbound lanes between Wycliff Avenue and Lovers Lane. Police were not able to catch this wrong-way driver, but fortunately there were no accidents were reported for that incident.
- In a June 1 collision, 28-year-old Jenny Hall of Dallas drove head-on into a car being driven by 25-year-old Carl Lotspeich of Addison, killing them both. There are indications Hall had been drinking before the collision, though investigators are still awaiting an official determination.
- In May, a 16-year-old girl was killed after a driver heading the wrong way in Frisco crashed into her vehicle. As of earlier this month, charges against that driver were pending, and officials were awaiting toxicology results. Further information on that case was not available Sunday.
- In April, an independent contractor for The Dallas Morning News was killed after driving the wrong way in North Dallas. Bernard said tests in that case showed illicit drugs and alcohol were in the driver’s system at the time of the crash.
- The Dallas Morning News reports that “At least 10 other tollway crashes caused by drivers going the wrong way have been recorded in the past two years, including two that involved fatalities.”
Although tollway officials are studying ways to alert other drivers of a wrong-way driver, Tollway officials have suggested that one thing drivers can do to protect themselves is stay in the right lane when driving on the tollroad late at night or early in the morning when these incidents tend to occur and when the number of drunk drivers on the roadway are believed to be at their highest. The explanation for this advice is that most head-on collisions occur in the left lane.
We strongly recommend that if you are the victim of one of these head-on collisions caused by a wrong-way driver or a driver that you suspect is driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol or both, immediately contact Rachel Montes or Tom Herald of Montes Herald Law Group, LLP to discuss your case and to understand your rights. We are experienced and qualified attorneys. We handle drunk driving collision cases on a regular basis. Call us at (214) 522-9401 and visit our website www.MontesLawGroup.com for more information about our attorneys, our practice areas, and they way we approach cases such as this. While we are located in Irving, Texas, we handle cases such as this all across the State of Texas. Montes Herald Law Group, LLP is a proud supporter of Mother’s Against Drunk Driving (MADD). These drivers need to be punished. In addition, we need all of the citizens of Texas to contact their legislators to encourage your legislator to take enact tougher laws to discourage and to punish drunk drivers, but also to enact laws that discourage bars and people who serve alcohol from over-serving their customers alcohol to the point that the customer gets intoxicated, and from permitting drunk patrons to leave their establishment without a safe ride home.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has announced that the NFL is suspending Cleveland Brown’s wide receiver Donte Stallworth indefinitely just days after he pleaded guilty to killing a pedestrian while driving under the influence of alcohol.
Stallworth, 28, pleaded guilty in a Florida court Tuesday to DUI manslaughter charges in the March death of construction worker Mario Reyes. Under terms of a plea agreement, he will serve 30 days. Prosecutors said he began serving his sentence immediately.
“The conduct reflected in your guilty plea resulted in the tragic loss of life and was inexcusable,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell told Stallworth in a letter. The letter also added, “While the criminal justice system has determined the legal consequences of this incident, it is my responsibility as NFL commissioner to determine appropriate league discipline for your actions, which have caused irreparable harm to the victim and his family, your club, your fellow players and the NFL.”
Under terms of Stallworth’s plea agreement, he will face two years of house arrest upon his release. He is also required to donate $2,500 to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, serve eight years of probation and submit to random drug and alcohol testing throughout his probation. His driver’s license was permanently revoked.
Mother’s Against Drunk Driving applauded the move by Commissioner Goodell, but noted that the criminal justice system which only imposed a 30 day sentence for a drunk driving incident that resulted in a death, missed the mark and shows that every state needs tougher laws to discourage drunk driving. A copy of the press release from MADD concerning this incident is attached to this post.
At Montes Law Group, P.C., we support MADD’s fight against drunk driving. Do not wait until you or your loved one is a victim of a drunk driving incident. Join MADD, and join the fight to prevent further tragedies caused by drunk driving.
and the NFL for sending the clear message the court missed in the Stallworth case: drunk driving is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. Commissioner Goodell’s leadership is an example to the nation.
New Device Prevents Driving While Using Cell Phone
By Rachel E. Montes on Wednesday, June 17, 2009
A new automobile ignition key with a cost under $50.00 may prevent teenagers and others from talking on cell phones or sending text messages while driving. Researchers at the University of Utah, have developed a device called “Key2SafeDriving” designed to reducecar wrecks caused by distracted drivers. Xuesong Zhou, an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering who co-invented the system with Wally Curry, a former University of Utah graduate now practicing medicine in Hays, Kan. “We want to provide a simple, cost-effective solution to improve driving safety.”
Motor vehicle accidents are the fifth leading cause of all deaths in the country. Among teens, however, motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death. Studies by other researchers at the university have shown that driving while talking on cell phones is as dangerous as driving drunk. Several states have banned phoning and texting while driving, particularly for novice drivers. While statistics are difficult to come by, one estimate made prior to the rise in popularity of texting held that cell phone distraction causes 2,600 deaths and 330,000 injuries in the United States every year.
Zhou says that “at any given time, about 6 percent of travelers on the road are talking on a cell phone while driving. Also at any given time, 10 percent of teenagers who are driving are talking or texting.” The device might not just make driving safer, it may also help to reduce insurance rates.
When the device is activated drivers cannot use their cell phones to talk or send text messages, except for calling 911 or other numbers pre-approved numbers. In addition, the device will send an automated message to incoming calls and texts that say, “I am driving now. I will call you later when I arrive at the destination safely.”
Montes Law Group, P.C., is the law firm to hire if you have been injured by a driver who was distracted because he or she was talking on a cell phone or text messaging or sending and reading email on a cell phone. The practice of Driving While Texting (DWT) is dangerous and puts everyone at risk for causing a wreck that results in serious personal injury or even death. Contact Rachel Montes or Thomas Herald to discuss your case. We handle cases on contingency fee basis so you owe no attorney’s fees or expenses unless we obtain a recovery for you. Our main office is located in the Las Colinas area of Irving, Texas. Visit our website at www.MontesLawGroup.com to learn more about our law firm.
Car Plows Into Dallas Home After Crash
By Rachel E. Montes posted in Cars Crash Into Homes and Businesses on Sunday, June 7, 2009
A car smashed into a Dallas house after a two-car crash on La Prada and Oates on the morning of June 7, 2009. Investigators said the impact of the crash sent one vehicle across the front yard and into a garage door. No one was injured.
Dallas police have not disclosed whether they are considering this a possible drunk driving case. However, all too frequently car wrecks such as this tend to involve either a drunk driver or an elderly driver that becomes confused and unable to control the vehicle. For example,
Michael Bentley, 21, of Roanoke, was killed in February of 2009 when a 20-year-old Grapevine man crashed into a sign at First Presbyterian Church of Grapevine. The crash occurred on a Sunday night as the driver of a 2006 Ford Focus lost control of the Ford Focus he was driving, and it flipped before hitting the church sign. The driver was held by Grapevine police suspicion of intoxication manslaughter.
In April of 2008, SMU student China Stone was lying on her sofa when Brian Adams, a neighbor, drove his SUV through the front entrance of Stone’s residence. The crash threw Stone’s body from the sofa and pinned Stone against the wall. Stone was hospitalized as a result of the incident while police arrested Mr. Adams for suspicion of intoxication assault.
Near San Diego, California, an elderly driver pulling into a parking spot at a Tierrasanta medical building was unable to put her foot on the brake. As a result, the vehicle she was driving crashed into the lobby of the building, striking a man. The accident occurred two weeks ago, but police will recommend the 89-year-old driver be charged with vehicular manslaughter after the man died due to his injuries.
In New York, an elderly man, (78), lost control of his vehicle and slammed into a building hosting a Hanukkah party for New York families on Thursday, injuring 14 people, according to police.
On June 5, 2009 in Somerset, Massachusetts, a car slammed into a medical supply store. An elderly driver was behind the wheel when he apparently “confused the accelerator with the brake pedal, and jumped the curb, hit the building about four feet off the ground.” The impact caved in the front window and his car ricocheted off the building.” The NBC news affiliate in that area reported that this was the third accident this week involving an elderly driver. Earlier that week, an elderly woman was behind the wheel of a van that plowed into a crowd of people at a war memorial in Plymouth. The day before, an elderly driver smashed a car into a Wal-Mart in Danvers. As is usually the case following one of these horrifying crashes, people in the area question whether drivers should be required to be re-tested in order to maintain a driver’s license after the driver reaches a certain age.
At Montes Herald Law Group, we offer a free consultation with an experienced attorney to discuss your case. We take cases on a contingency-fee basis. This means that unless we get a recovery for you, you owe us no legal fees or expenses. Call (214) 522-9401 to speak to Rachel Montes at www.MontesLawGrouop.com today.
Flower Mound Construction Worker Electrocuted
By Rachel E. Montes posted in Construction Accidents on Thursday, June 4, 2009
A construction worker was electrocuted today (June 5, 2009) after getting tangled in power lines while working on a new hospital in Flower Mound. The injured worker was transported by Careflite to Parkland Hospital in Dallas. Details of his condition are not known. Meanwhile, utility crews are working to restore power to the area, which was knocked out at the time of the accident.
This incident highlights the dangers that so many Texas workers, especially construction workers, face while on the job. In particular, workers in the construction industry have been put at an even greater risk because of the decision of the Texas Supreme Court in Entergy Gulf States vs. John Summers. In the Entergy case, John Summers was injured on the job for International Maintenance Corp., a contractor that Entergy hired to perform work at Entergy’s Sabine Station plant. As you would expect, Mr. Summers made a worker’s compensation claim with his employer. Employers who purchase workers compensation insurance cannot be sued by their employees when they are injured on the job unless the injury results in the employee’s death and unless the employer was grossly negligent.
In addition, Mr. Summers sued Entergy for its negligence. Entergy claimed it could not be sued because it authorized the contractor to do the work and therefore Entergy was claiming it was the “general contractor” for the job. The Texas Supreme Court, in a very controversial ruling once again ruled in favor of big business and the interests of the insurance company. The Texas Supreme Court overturned the appellate court ruling which said that a plain reading of the law allowed Mr. Summers to sue Entergy for its negligence. The Texas Supreme Court without an explanation ruled that even if Entergy was negligent, Mr. Summers was not entitled to sue Entergy because Entergy – the “premises owner” – also qualified as a “general contractor” and hence was immune from the injury suits even though Entergy did not have a contract designating itself as the general contractor and even though Entergy had not paid for any of the worker’s compensation insurance and certainly did not advise Mr. Summers that he was considered and employee of Entergy and covered under its worker’s compensation insurance.
This ruling and the Texas Supreme Court has come under sharp attack for the implications that this decision has on thousands of Texas workers and businesses. Even the Texas Association of Defense Counsel (a group of attorneys that primarily represent insurance companies) filed a brief with the Court claiming that the Court’s decision is wrong and should be changed because “expanding the definition of ‘general contractor’ as the Court did completely disrupts the complex scheme of how employers are defined under the Texas Workers Compensation Act and that the decision could plague the Texas Workers Compensation Act for decades and endanger worker safety.
It was hoped that the Texas legislature would be able to cure this problem, despite a strong push by Democratic legislators to fix the law, the movement fell just a couple of votes short.