Criminal charges are pending against a man who lost control of his speeding car, causing it to flip over and catch fire.
According to the McCracken County Sheriff’s Office, Ancinio Friar was travelling over 90mph when he refused to pull over for a deputy. Instead, Friar accelerated down Old Mayfield Road. Friar, who had outstanding warrants for unpaid child support, was seriously injured in the crash. His passenger, Ronneka Hampton, was also seriously injured. She did not survive.
Friar, whom police believe was also intoxicated and under the influence of drugs, now faces various charges, including murder, reckless operation, and evading police.
Speed and Car Crashes
Since it increases the risk of a crash and the force in a collision, excessive speed is a factor in about a third of all the fatal car wrecks in Kentucky.
A vehicle travelling 90mph is much more sensitive to steering changes than a car moving 9mph. As a result, these drivers often oversteer when they negotiate curves. Then, in a desperate attempt to regain control, they overcorrect, which makes the situation worse.
Many vehicles are equipped with Electronic Stability Control. ESC balances acceleration and braking effects to reduce the risk of a rollover collision. More than likely, Friar’s vehicle either did not have this feature or he was driving so recklessly that he overloaded the system.
Furthermore, speed multiples the force in a collision between two objects, according to Newton’s second law of motion. There is an old story that a penny dropped from the top of the Empire State Building is fatal to a pedestrian on the street. That story is mostly false, largely because the penny flutters to the ground instead of dropping straight down. But this tale is partially true, and it illustrates the effect of speed on a car crash.
Speed is a good example of operational negligence. Other examples include unsafe lane changes and running a red light.
Frequently, however, choices the tortfeasor (negligent driver) made earlier set the stage for a car wreck. Examples of driver impairment include:
- Alcohol: Since this substance clouds judgement ability and impairs motor skills, alcohol is a factor in about a third of the fatal crashes in Kentucky. In addition to first party liability, alcohol-involved wrecks often involve third party liability, because of Kentucky’s dram shop law.
- Fatigue: Alcohol and drowsiness have roughly the same effect on the brain and body. Driving after eighteen consecutive awake hours is like driving with a .05 BAC level.
- Drugs: In many jurisdictions, there are more drugged drivers than drunk drivers. Marijuana is the leading cause of these crashes. Prescription painkillers, like Oxycontin, are a close second. These drugs might be legal to ingest. But it is illegal and unsafe to drive while under their influence.
Other causes of driver impairment include operator distraction and driving with a serious medical condition, like epilepsy, that could cause a sudden loss of consciousness.
Most vehicle collision claims involve single-occupant vehicles. Therefore, passenger injury claims are rather rare, especially if the passenger was in the same car as the tortfeasor. These claims involve some unique emotional and legal issues.
In almost all cases, a negligence claim damages the relationship between the victim and tortfeasor. For this reason, many injured victims hesitate to file claims.
However, a negligence claim does not “blame” anyone for the accident. We all make mistakes, and we are all answerable for the mistakes we make. So, a negligence claim is basically about responsibility. Additionally, the victim does not have a problem with the tortfeasor, but rather with the tortfeasor’s actions or inactions at that specific time.
Furthermore, the insurance company, and not the individual, is financially responsible for damages, at least in most cases. These damages include compensation for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. Victims need and deserve this compensation.
Legally, passenger injuries often involve the assumption of the risk defense. This defense, which usually only applies in swimming pool drowning and other premises liability claims, excuses negligent conduct if the victim voluntarily assumed a known risk.
People almost always voluntarily get into cars. But typically, the risk of a collision is a theoretical one, as opposed to a known one.
Speed kills. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Lexington, contact the Goode Law Office, PLLC. We do not charge upfront legal fees in car accident claims.