Houston Nurse Kills Six People in High-Speed Windsor Hills Collision
A judge denied bail to a 37-year-old woman who faces five vehicular manslaughter charges and six murder charges after a firey crash.
Initially, the defendant’s attorneys said she passed out behind the wheel. Prosecutors used on-board computer data to refute this defense. In the five seconds preceding the wreck, the defendant’s car went from 122mph to 130mph. Furthermore, she had “complete control over steering, maintaining the tilt of the steering wheel to keep her car traveling directly toward the crowded intersection,” according to prosecutors. Based largely on this evidence, the judge denied bail, claiming the woman was a flight risk.
Her attorneys said she has a history of mental illness dating back to 2018.
Event Data Recorders
Vehicle EDRs are similar to commercial jet black box flight data recorders. EDRs provide pinpoint information about important operational metrics like:
- Steering angle,
- Engine RPM,
- Vehicle speed, and
- Brake application.
Prosecutors usually bypass privacy laws to gain instant access to EDR information. A Los Angeles personal injury attorney usually doesn’t have that luxury. Instead, a judge must first issue a court order.
Because of this time delay, it’s important to work quickly in these situations. Once insurance companies learn about these court filings, they often “accidentally” destroy the EDR, along with any other physical evidence.
In the above story, prosecutors used EDR information to refute a defense. Los Angeles personal injury lawyers typically use EDR information as evidence of negligence, or a lack of care. If driver negligence caused a wreck, victims are entitled to compensation for their economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.
This compensation is an important difference between criminal and civil court. Criminal courts punish offenders. But in most cases, they do nothing to compensate the victims, or in this case survivors, of these incidents.
Some form of driver impairment, including medical impairment, causes about half of the car crashes in California.
Many chronic physical conditions, like epilepsy, diabetes, and heart disease, could cause drivers to suddenly and unexpectedly pass out behind the wheel. If that happens, the usual result is a dangerous loss-of-control wreck. There’s simply no telling what might happen in these situations.
Since the hazard is so great, the state usually suspends drivers’ licenses in these cases. However, the suspension is only temporary. Furthermore, a suspended license doesn’t stop anyone from driving.
Short term medical conditions, like the flu, reduce driving ability by as much as 50 percent. Watery eyes, runny noses, and other symptoms are so bothersome that tortfeasors (negligent drivers) are focused on them, as opposed to driving.
Emotional impairments are less common, but they do happen. Many people have delusions or they cannot separate reality from fiction.
These medical conditions may or may not be valid defenses in criminal court. They’re never valid defenses in civil court. All drivers have a duty of reasonable care at all times. This duty requires them to be physically and mentally capable of safely operating a motor vehicle.
Other kinds of driver impairment include extreme fatigue and substance use. It might be legal to consume alcohol, marijuana, or a powerful prescription drug. However, it’s always illegal and dangerous to drive under the influence of such substances. Vehicle collisions usually cause serious injuries. For a free consultation with an experienced Los Angeles personal injury lawyer, contact the Law Offices of Eslamboly Hakim & Sharona Hakim, Attorneys. Lawyers can connect victims with doctors, even if they have no insurance or money.
Credit: Photo on Freepik
Sharona Eslamboly Hakim, Esq. is a successful personal injury attorney and the principal of the Law Offices of Eslamboly Hakim firm in Beverly Hills, California.