Runaway Driver Kills Pedestrian in Bell County

by | Sep 3, 2021 | Car Accidents

A motorist apparently lost control of his Chevrolet Trailblazer, ran off the road, and fatally struck a 54-year-old man.

The wreck happened close to Mile Marker Three on U.S. Highway 119. In addition to the pedestrian fatality, two adults in the Trailblazer were seriously injured in the crash. Three children, who were also in the truck, were unhurt.

No other details were available.

Speed and Pedestrian Wrecks

When vehicles hit pedestrians on surface streets and in or near crosswalks, the victims usually have a good chance of surviving. At impact speeds under 30mph, the pedestrian death rate is only about 20 percent. But most of these accidents happen outside marked crosswalks. As a result, the tortfeasor (negligent driver) is often travelling at or near top speed. At impact speeds of 50mph or higher, the pedestrian death rate is over 90 percent.

Speed multiples the risk of a collision. At 30mph, most vehicles travel about six car lengths in the few moments it takes for drivers to see hazards ahead, move their feet from the accelerator to the brake, apply the brake, and safely stop the vehicle. At 60mph, stopping distance multiples to eighteen car lengths.

Several factors, such as environmental conditions, driver impairment, and vehicle weight, could increase stopping distance even further.

Speed also multiples the force in a collision, according to Newton’s Second Law of Motion. There’s an old story that a penny dropped from the top of the Empire State Building picks up so much speed that the impact is fatal to a pedestrian on 34th Street. This story is partially true.

Pedestrians have absolutely no protection in these situations. They are entirely exposed to danger.

Electronic Evidence in Car Wreck Claims

In a case like the one in the above story, evidence is often hard to acquire. Since the victim died, his testimony is obviously unavailable. Furthermore, freeway wrecks often have few recorded witnesses. If someone saw what happened, they usually keep going and it is almost impossible to find them. Finally, in a fatal accident situation, the police report only contains one side of the story. That’s one reason officials don’t file charges very often in these situations.

The lack of evidence could be a problem for a Lexington personal injury attorney. The victim/plaintiff must establish negligence, or a lack of care, by a preponderance of the evidence, or more likely than not. The less evidence there is, the harder it is to meet this burden of proof.

Electronic evidence, such as a vehicle’s Event Data Recorder, often fills in the evidentiary gap. Precise EDR capability varies by make and model. Generally, however, these devices are a lot like the black box flight data recorders in commercial airplanes. Most EDRs measure and record information like:

  • Steering angle,
  • Brake application,
  • Engine acceleration or deceleration, and
  • Vehicle speed.

Such evidence could be critical in a car crash claim. Furthermore, this proof is more precise than eyewitness testimony. A witness might testify that the driver lost control of the vehicle. EDR data shows exactly what moves the driver made and failed to make.

Furthermore, electronic evidence is almost unassailable in court. Eyewitnesses sometimes make mistakes or are biased. But assuming the gadget was working properly, computers are never one-sided or incorrect.

Attorneys must act quickly to preserve this evidence. Typically, insurance companies destroy wrecked vehicles in a matter of days. If that happens, the EDR and any other physical evidence is gone forever. So, most lawyers send spoliation letters to vehicle custodians. These letters trigger a legal responsibility to preserve any possible physical evidence, including EDRs, for future inspection.

Video footage is often important as well. At least one traffic, surveillance, or other camera covers pretty much every inch of Lexington. Most Fayette County courtrooms have high-definition video screens, so the jury gets a good look at the digital footage. Frequently, a picture is worth a thousand words.

There are some legal issues in this area as well. Typically, attorneys need court orders to obtain evidence, such as video footage, from third parties. Otherwise, evidence credibility could be an issue. Most judges only grant such court orders in certain situations. Furthermore, a competent witness must authenticate the video footage. This witness must normally be a video technician or a similar professional.

Injury victims are usually entitled to substantial compensation. 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 these matters. #goodelawyers