Brian White | August 22, 2020 | News
Not one, but two vehicles fled the scene after striking a young male riding a scooter through a Houston intersection. On Sunday morning, around 12:30 a.m., officers responded to a crash at the 2600 block of Chimney Rock Road, near where it intersects with Westheimer. Upon arrival, they found a young male deceased at the scene.
After the initial investigation, officers determined the young male on the scooter was crossing the crosswalk and the intersection of Westheimer Road and Chimney Rock Road. A vehicle driving eastbound on Westheimer attempted to make a southbound turn onto Chimney Rock Rd. when they struck the young male on the scooter.
Witnesses reported that another vehicle, traveling behind the initial vehicle, also struck the person on the scooter. Both vehicles then fled the scene of the accident. The HPD says this is an ongoing investigation.
A later update to the story states a hit-and-run tow truck driver caused the fatality. The young man on the scooter was almost hit by an unknown dark-colored vehicle. He jumped off his scooter, and the driver of a white tow truck hit him and failed to stop.
Fleeing the Scene of an Accident in Texas
According to theTexas Transportation Code § 550.023 (3), an operator of an automobile involved in an accident that results in the injury or death of an individual must stop and render reasonable assistance, including contacting emergency medical services.
Failing to do so in an accident that results in a death can be charged as a second-degree felony. Fleeing the scene of a fatality can result in a fine of up to $10,000 and imprisonment for two to ten years in state prison.
Leaving the scene of an accident of any type and for any reason, is always a bad idea. Fleeing the scene takes a bad situation and makes it infinitely worse. The Texas Transportation Code deems that you are obligated to stop and take specific actions in any accident, and failure to do so can result in criminal charges.
Why Do People Flee the Scene of an Accident?
People flee the scene of a car accident out of fear, either that they will be held accountable for the accident, or because they are intoxicated or distracted when the accident happens. They may also flee if there is an existing warrant for their arrests, lack of insurance, or sometimes, out of sheer panic. Other reasons, such as not having a license, or an invalid license, or being an illegal driver may also contribute to an individual fleeing the scene.
Someone’s fear of punishment should never lead to another person’s injury or death, but the sad reality is that it happens. If you, or someone you love, has been the victim of a hit and run in the Houston area, contact an attorney experienced in hit and run accidents.
The Scooter Rider’s Family May Have a Wrongful Death Claim
In Texas, family members of a pedestrian killed by a motor vehicle may seek compensation under the Texas Wrongful Death Statute. A wrongful death suit can be brought by certain immediate family members under Texas law. To bring a wrongful death suit, you must be the surviving spouse, child, or parent of the deceased.
Chapter 71 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code, defines what constitutes a wrongful death and who can bring the claim. If the death was caused by negligent or wrongful actions, unskillfulness, neglect, or carelessness, the potential for compensation for wrongful death exists.
Drunk driving, distracted driving, or other negligent acts behind the wheel can be cause for a wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible party.
Damages in wrongful death claims exist to compensate family members, but no amount of money can restore the loss of a loved one. The most common damages awarded include:
- Loss of earning capacity
- Mental anguish
- Lost household services
- Lost care, support, or guidance
- Loss of love and companionship
In extreme cases, juries can award punitive damages, with the intent to punish the guilty party for their gross negligence that leads to the death of an individual. The purpose of punitive damages is to penalize, but also to send a message that the type of behavior that resulted in the incident that caused the death will not be tolerated.
If you have lost a loved one due to a hit and run accident, or a pedestrian accident caused by a motor vehicle, you need the help of an experienced Texas lawyer.