The Verdict - The Lombardi Law Firm Blog
Here at the Lombardi Law Firm we add blog content that is personal to those involved in accidents. We write this way so you have an understanding of how we think and handle cases - your case. We invite you to call us if you think we can help you resolve your legal problems. We settle most of our cases, because we do the basic legal work necessary to understand the facts of your case. We offer on our website, relevant and concise information that you will be helpful to you as you get ready to settle or to try your case.
We can and will do the same for you. That's my promise. So call us today!
Steve Lombardi, 515-222-1110 or firstname.lastname@example.org
We’ve been covering wrong-way collisions for the month of July and have continued to update during the month of August in 2009. This is the second update since writing the wrong-way series that started on August 3, 2009. You can read the complete list of wrong-way collisions in the recap posted on August 15, 2009.
Wrong-Way Accidents - Complete Recap of All July 2009 Collisions, August 15, 2009
Twenty-Six More Wrong-Way Interstate Highway Drivers, August 18, 2009
Analyzing July 2009 Wrong-way High Speed Collisions in America, August 3, 2009
Wrong-way drivers on I-80 Interstate are a problem, June 3, 2009
Here is the update for wrong-way collisions for this series with Devon Glass and Dave Mittleman from Michigan and Wayne Parsons from Hawaii Injuryboard. Wayne, I’m wondering aloud if you see many wrong-way driver collisions on any of your three highways? And Devon, what are you seeing in the Michigan area on the Interstate highway system? I’d like to hear what if anything Mike Bryant is seeing in that maze of Interstate highways around the Twin Cities of Minnesota. And maybe we can get an Al Franken report. In fact before we get too serious, these wrong-ways tend to be extremely deadly, let’s start out with that YouTube video of the talking fish from the Franken-Coleman Senate race. I love that talking fish ad. It’s gotta be a classic. Sorry Norm (we attended college together at the University of Iowa) but this is way too funny to leave alone.
Now back to the serious stuff about wrong-way drivers. We’ve had a wrong-way collision not more than ½ a mile from my house on I-35 southbound. It’s at the end.
Detroit, Michigan – August 28, 2009 wrong-way collision on Lodge Freeway. A 31-year-old man died after he drove the wrong-way. Accident occurred at around 12:45 a.m., driving southbound. Alcohol is believed to have been a factor.
Haltom City, Texas – August 28, 2009 – State Highway 121 wrong-way driver collided head-on with a semi-truck and was killed. This man was heading north in the southbound lanes around 2 a.m. This driver safety stopped in the emergency lane, but when police approached he took off, again the wrong-way colliding with the semi-truck. Additional details were provided by the Star-Telegram. The wrong-way driver was 53-years of age. A map and video are available with WFAA Latest News.
Pittsburg, Pennsylvania – August 27, 2009 - No deaths in this southbound wrong-way driver in the northbound lanes of traffic in the HOV lane of Parkway North near the McKnight Road ramp. There was personal injury and OWI charges were pending against the wrong-way driver.
Allentown, Pennsylvania – August 27, 2009 – This wrong-way collision occurred around 3:30 A.M. at 8th and Linden Streets when the driver turned and drove the wrong way on Linden Street. One man was killed and another seriously injured.
St. Louis, Missouri – August 26, 2009 – In this wrong-way collision three died and one was injured on Illinois 255, about 11/2 miles north of I-270. The wrong-way driver is reported to be a 46-year-old man driving with a revoked license with multiple arrests and six convictions on alcohol related offenses. He lived, but the driver and a passenger in the other car were killed. Emergency calls shortly before this collision reported a wrong-way driver heading south in the northbound lanes of I-255 and then another call came in reporting a car heading north in the southbound lanes. Confused or drunk driver, you be the judge.
Detroit, Michigan – August 28, 2009 – A 28-year-old man was driving northbound in the southbound lanes of M-10 near Larned. The driver died and a passenger in the wrong-way vehicle was taken to the hospital and listed in fair condition. Alcohol was reported to be a factor, according to reports of what the police said.
Maderia, Ohio - August 28, 2009 – This wrong-way collision occurred on I-71 involved a 27-year-old driver and two passengers, one 18 and the other 24. Drugs and alcohol are believed to have been a factor.
Maderia, Ohio – August 2009 – In this second wrong-way crash in a two-day period a 64-year old man died after driving head-on into the wrong-way driver. The driver of the wrong-way car was a 33-year-old man. The crash involved a third car driven by an 18-year-old who was not injured. This one occurred on I-275 just before 2:00 a.m. Saturday morning.
Milford, Oakland County, Michigan – August 26, 2009 – Police report this collision was caused by intentionally driving the wrong-way by a young girl (16-year-old) who was depressed over her father’s death in November. She took her mother’s SUV and drove the wrong-way in the westbound lanes of I-96 near Lansing. She drove head-on into a semi-truck at around 9:25 p.m. She left a note saying she was tired of being depressed and wanted to see her father.
Birch Run, Michigan – August 26, 2009 – I-75 was the scene of this wrong-way driver that involved a man intentionally driving the wrong-way while police chased him in a stolen vehicle. The driver was 22-years of age.
Allentown, Pennsylvania – August 26, 2009 – This wrong-way collision happened in downtown Allentown at 3 a.m. Not much detail was given in this report although it appears to be a one-car crash with the driver dying and the passenger critically injured. They crashed into several fixed objects including a parking garage and a restaurant.
Boston, Massachusetts – August 23, 2009 – The 42-year-old wrong-way driver was being chased by police when he intentionally drove the wrong-way on state highway 24 and I-495. No one was hurt although the chase went on for nearly a half-hour.
Landrum, South Carolina – August 22, 2009 – The 33-year-old wrong-way female driver collided head-on with another vehicle. The collision caused one death, one person was seriously injured and the wrong-way driver was charged with “two counts of felony driving under the influence of alcohol -- one count involving great bodily injury and one county involving death.” The driver was heading westbound on I-26 near mile marker 2 near Landrum around 5:20 a.m. A front seat passenger was reported to have died.
Edmonton, Canada – August 22, 2009 – A wrong-way driver heading south in the northbound lanes of Wayne Gretzky Drive was operated by a 49-year-old woman reported to be impaired by alcohol.
Hickory, North Carolina – August 18, 2009 – The report is of an elderly couple (driver was 75) driving the wrong-way (northbound in the southbound lanes) on U.S. 321 just before 2:00 p.m. They drove head0n into a pickup truck killing the elderly driver and severely injuring his wife, a passenger.
New Orleans, Louisiana – August 19, 2009 – It seems no state is immune to wrong-way driving, well maybe North and South Dakota. In this wrong-way collision in the eastbound lanes of I-12 a young female driver drove head-on into an 18-wheeler killing her. She drove the wrong-way for at least 6 miles. Police suspect alcohol was involved. The driver was not wearing her seatbelt and was ejected from the vehicle.
West Des Moines, Iowa – I-35 northbound in the southbound lanes of traffic. The wrong-way driver was not killed but the driver of the car struck head-on was killed. The explanation for this collision is that the wrong-way driver was suffering from a diabetic condition and became confused, entered the wrong-way on Highway 5 and continued all the way off 5 and onto I-35 heading north in the southbound lanes.
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Interstate Highways and Wrong-way Collisions, the Carnage Continued...
One last point to be made is that people have it all wrong when it comes to saving money. The notion there are too many lawsuits makes about as much sense as there are too many doctors treating cancer patients. There aren't too many cancer treatments, there is too much cancer. And the same goes for the disease of distracted or drunk driving; there aren't too many lawsuits, there are as many lawsuits as there are drunk and distracted driver accidents. The fact is there are fewer lawsuits than accidents. The correct question is why are there so many accidents; not lawsuits. Take away only the number of lawsuits and you encourage more drunken and distracted drivers to plow into you. If you want to reduce the number of lawsuits stop driving drunk or distracted. It's that simple.
Here is the series so far on Interstate Highway crashes and how to avoid them:
Are Double-Bottomed Semis More or Less Dangerous to You? - Devon Glass from Church Wyble, P.C. (Michigan), August 26, 2009
Who wins and loses when a Ford Focus and a fully-loaded semi-truck crash? - Steve Lombardi from The Lombardi Law Firm (Iowa), August 25, 2009
Hawaii Freeway Chronicles #1: What Are The Danger Points On H-1, H-2 and H-3?, by Wayne Parsons of Wayne Parsons Law Offices. (Hawaii), August 27, 2009
The Interstate Highway Graveyard, “Speed Kills”, Lombardi, August 28, 2009
Why Speeders on the Highway Cause More Serious Accidents, Glass, August 28, 2009
Death and Injury On Interstate Highways Increase With Higher Speed Limits, Wayne Parsons, August 29, 2009 2:31 AM
Since last reporting there have been 26 additional news reports picked up for wrong-way collisions across America and one from jolly-old England. Drunken drivers continue to be the main cause although old-age confusion, diabetic confusion, youthful inexperience and criminal behavior are repeated causes as well.
Since my last report in the twenty-part series here on the InjuryBoard I’ve wondered how many of the elderly wrong-way drivers suffer from prescription drug confusion or the affects of taking multiple prescriptions. That should be something the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration studies. My understanding of these collisions is they occur more in the northbound lanes on the interstate highway system. It could be because we are mostly right-handed type thinkers reading left to right rather than right to left. Is there a connection? I have no idea but it’s something that should be examined.
Dallas, Texas – Friday, July 31, 2009 – This wrong-way collision occurred on I-20 westbound lanes along the divided highway near Polk Street in the Red Bird area about 12:30 a.m. Alcohol may have been a factor. The entry point was not determined. Three people reported to have been killed.
Chicago, Illinois – About 1:35 a.m. on the Stevenson Expressway (I-55) south of downtown, northbound lanes, wrong-way driver was heading south near Halsted Street in the Bridgeport neighborhood driving a 2003 Audi striking a 1993 Toyota head-on. A 38-year-old female passenger in the Toyota died.
Brownsville, Texas – Highway 71, 10 people injured. Northbound lanes, southbound wrong-way driver.
Providence, Rhode Island – August 3, 2009 – A 50-year-old man driving the wrong-way on I-95 early Sunday morning caused three crashes and the police allege alcohol was a cause. Two people were hospitalized. A video from Channel 12-WPRI Eyewitness News is available by following the link.
Seville, England – August 16, 2009 – A wrong-way collision on the A-4 near Seville killed one man. He tried to cross over the center lane and was struck by a semi-trailer and was himself killed.
Queen Creek, Arizona – August 15, 2009 – A 53-year-old man driving on the wrong-side of the street is reported to have struck a bicyclist at around 2:00 a.m. on Ocotillo Road near 228th Street. Driver of the at-fault vehicle was driving westbound in the eastbound lanes. Alcohol is believed to have been a factor.
Toledo, Ohio - August 14, 2009 – A wrong-way collision on I-280 at 5:00 a.m. starting at Greenbelt Parkway, going south in the northbound lanes after crossing over the Veterans Glass City Skyway bridge near St. Rt. 795. In this instance a diabetic condition is said to have caused confusion or a condition similar to alcohol intoxication for the 64-year-old driver that was not killed. Non life-threatening conditions were sustained. There is a video you can watch from ABC Channel 13, Toledo, Ohio. She drove for miles. The advice Ohio State Troopers are given is to drive in the right lane as they approach the crest of a hill.
Greenville County, S.C. – August 14, 2009 – An 88-year-old driving a Ford Ranger north on I-385 south struck a Chevy Tahoe head-on; no one was killed.
Marlborough, Massachusetts – August 13, 2009 – A police chase after a man driving a stolen truck drove the wrong-way on I-495. The man was 38-years of age
Stratford, South Carolina – In this wrong-way collision a 20-year-old South Carolina man drove the wrong-way on I-95 and reportedly narrowly missed a head-on collision with a semi-truck. Alcohol is believed to have been involved. Several 911 calls reported a driver going the wrong-way from Strafford to Fairfield south in the northbound lanes.
Little Chute, Wisconsin – August 12, 2009 – In this one a 55-year-old man was driving south in the northbound lanes of 441 near County OO/Northland Avenue at around 3 p.m. The wrong-way driver crashed into two northbound vehicles. The driver was cited from driving under the influence of a drug. No deaths are reported.
Tarrytown, New York – August 9, 2009 - An elderly woman, 76-years, drove the wrong-way when she entered the off-ramp at Exit 9 driving north in the southbound lanes of the Tappan Zee Bridge. It’s reported that she even went through the tolls driving the wrong-way. (Does that mean they refund her the toll charge?)
Charlotte, North Carolina – August 9, 2009 – I-85 is the scene of this wrong-way collision report of a 21-year-old driver. No cause is mentioned, and here is a quote from the news article. (It should be noted the driver was later charged with DWI.)
Bridges, who lives in Salisbury, said Monday that he's been interviewed by TV news crews and that opinions about his decision to chase the car in the wrong direction have been mixed.
Last month, a 38-year-old Matthews man was arrested after police said he led them on a 20-mile, wrong-way pursuit on I-85 through Mecklenburg and Gaston counties.
In early July, a wrong-way collision killed two people on U.S. 74 outside of Monroe.
In July 2007, a wrong-way crash on I-485 near the Providence Road exit killed both drivers.
Barnes County, North Dakota – August 11, 2009 – I-94 wrong-way crash with a 64-year-old man driving westbound in the eastbound lanes of travel. The female driver entered at exit 292. Confusion was apparently the cause.
Wappinger, New York – August 10, 2009 – Four injured in this head-on crash on Route 9 in this three-car mva. Around 7:15 p.m. The driver states he simply lost consciousness prior to the crash and drifted across the divider. Although titled as a wrong-way crash this may not be one in the true sense.
Hanover Township, Pennsylvania – August 10, 2009 – Route 30 is the scene of this accident described as a wrong-way collision. A motorcyclist lost his life when a 19-year-old was driving west in the eastbound lanes of Route 30, just north of Platt Road. Improper passing seems to be the cause along with youthful inexperience. The motorcycle driver was 23-years old.
Fountain Valley, Orange County, California – August 9, 2009 – This wrong-way collision is reported to involve a drunk driver attempting to elude police.
Southfield, Michigan - August 9, 2009 – Eight Mile Road is where this drunken driver drove westbound in the eastbound lanes. No injuries and no collision before police were able to stop and arrest the driver.
Colorado Springs, Colorado – August 7, 2009 – A DUI arrest of a 37-year-old man driving the wrong-way is said to have caused this head-on collision in the eastbound lanes of westbound U.S. 24 near 21st Street at around 2:30 a.m. Reports came in from 2:09 a.m. to 2:24 p.m.
Louisville, Kentucky – August 5, 2009 – I-65 at 1:15 a.m. just south of Outer Loop heading south in the northbound lanes. No one was killed even though the wrong-way driver was reported to have been speeding. “She was running 90 or better.”
Fremont, California – August 5, 2009 – This wrong-way driver was on I-880 attempting to avoid arrest, which he did, by driving south in the northbound lanes of travel.
Libertyville, Illinois – August 4, 2009 – A two-car crash when a wrong-way driver on Route 176 at 6:30 a.m. The driver was charged with with improper lane usage, driving in the wrong lane, driving with a suspended license and having an uninsured motor vehicle in connection.
Chicago, Illinois – August 3, 2009 – I-55 wrong-way crash left one dead from a crash in the northbound lanes of the Stevenson Interstate Highway. No report as the cause. This is a blog report.
Tuscon, Arizona – August 2009 – This wrong-way crash on I-10 killed the 17-year-old young driver.
Hazlet, New Jersey – August 17, 2009 – This wrong-way collision is on the Garden State Parkway heading northbound in the southbound lanes and resulted in minor injuries. The collision occcurred around 5:00 p.m.
Denver, Colorado – August 18, 2009 report indicates a 10-car pileup on I-25 was caused by a wrong-way driver. The wrong-way driver was killed. No report on the cause.
Garrett, Indiana – August 17, 2009 – The wrong-way driver drove south in the northbound lanes of I-69 after loosing control of his car, crossing the median and striking a pole. This isn’t really a wrong-way collision. It’s described that way but not one where a driver enters the highway from an exit ramp or onramp and simply turns the wrong-way. This driver crossed over the median after losing control.
Denver, Colorado – August 17, 2009 – Two women in a wrong-way vehicle fled the one-way street location wher the driver stuck a moped driver. The police continue to look for the driver and passenger. If you have information about these two women your help is needed. If you know who these two women are please call Crime Stoppers at 720-913-STOP (7867). You could be eligible for a cash reward and may remain anonymous.
Gastonia, South Carolina – July 2009 – A wrong-way driver on I-85 in Gaston County, traveling south in the northbound lanes of travel was accused of trying to strike cars driving the wrong way and finally driving into a cement wall. He was under psychiatric care.
A man who passed him told Eyewitness News it looked like Ghent was going 100 mph. That driver said he was on his way to his Charlotte home from work in Gastonia, and he remembers seeing headlights coming directly at him in his lane. He said he thought it could only be a trooper traveling on the wrong side of the road at night. He said he moved two lanes over and watched as the car passed by.
Seconds later, troopers fell in behind the vehicle.
They said they stopped Ghent near exit 23 and he refused to take a breathalyzer. They said a blood test found an unnamed prescription drug in Ghent's blood. There is a video-tape report.
InjuryBoard.com – Blog by Brooks Schuelke - What Can Be Done To Protect Dallas Motorists From Wrong-Way Drivers? Discusses how Dallas highway officials need to approach the problem. He points out what automakers are looking at the situation.
Brownsburg, Indiana – July 2009 – Near the I-74 interchange with Ronal Reagan Parkway near the western Indianapolis suburb of Brownsburg around 8:15 A.M. The collision occurred in Hendricks County involving a 59-year-old woman heading eastbound in the westbound lanes. She died when her SUV struck the rear axle of one semi, then airborne and struck another semi head-on.
Chicago, Illinois – July 2009 – I-55, near South Halsted Street at 1:50 a.m. The wrong-way driver was headed south. A 38-year-old woman was killed in a two-vehicle crash. The male wrong-way driver was neither identified nor charged although he was reported to be in custody.
Monroeville, PA – July 2009 – 9:20 A.M. - Pennsylvania Turnpike, heading west in the eastbound lane of traffic. She was 36-years-old and had a 2 ½ year old son in a car seat that survived suffering only a cut above his right eye. She was a nurse and collided head-on with a tractor-trailer semi truck. She had to have been driving the wrong-way for at least 7 miles. It appears she swerved into the right lane to avoid an oncoming semi and struck another semi head-on. Toxicology reports were not available. Inside the car was a toll-ticket and the police are attempting to determine exactly what if anything this can tell us. The news report from Channel 4 News indicated she was facing two charges of driving while under the influence from previous incidents. The video report is very good. See The Pittsburgh Channel with ABC. What is probably more interesting is doing a video search of this site produces more than 20 videos of wrong-way driver reports.
Coos Bay, Oregon – July 2009 – Most wrong-way driving is accidental, but occasionally your run into a story where it was purposefully done. This is one of those news stories. This one involves a masked man on a four-wheeler ATV traveling the wrong-way on a one way street attempting and then succeeding to allude law enforcement.
Clifton, New Jersey – July 2009 – Route 21 in Clifton around 5:00 PM heading south on a northbound lane causing a four-car collision in which five people were hurt, three seriously.
Mexico – June 2008 – Minutes after a bike race began just across the border from Brownsville, Texas a man allegedly drunk drove the wrong-way on a roadway then fell asleep at the wheel careening into the pack of riders. The Daily Telegraph published a photograph of the incident with bikes and riders flying up above the car. The man was 37-years-old. Here is a blog titled the Brooklynian that discussed Wrong way in bike lane.
Fredericton, Canada - December 2007 - A 61-year-old woman drove the wrong-way on a divided highway named Vanier Highway, the other head-on crash victim died. The wrong-way driver suffered a broken ankle but learned the person who died was a friend. The wrong-way driver was charged criminally and the trial testimony along with expert witness testimony is reported in the Daily Gleaner. Factors contributing include no signage of wrong-way entry, a sign that was leaning over and snow banks along the road making pulling over impossible.
“Under cross-examination by defence lawyer Patrick Hurley, he testified that at the time of the accident, there was no signage along the Kimble Drive off-ramp warning motorists who might be travelling the wrong way down that access point to the highway.
He also said a photo he took showed that the median sign at that Kimble Drive exit, indicating which side of the median drivers should remain on, was crooked and leaning left.
Conversely, there was a sign with a Do Not Enter symbol at the Liverpool Street ramp, he said, and since the accident, signage has been added to the Kimble Drive ramp to warn motorists about travelling the wrong way.
Hurley also questioned several witnesses about the lack of room to pull over on the Vanier Highway on Dec. 21, 2007.
He suggested that snowbanks along the shoulder made it impossible to pull over and that the area by the median wasn't wide enough for a car.
While Wayne Christie agreed with those suggestions, others witnesses didn't, indicating there was just enough room by the median to pull over in some areas.”
Newport, Michigan – July 2009 - I-275 in Monroe County at 4:30 PM about 28 miles southwest of Detroit. No further details given.
Spring Hill, Florida – July 2009 - Wrong-way driver on Commercial Way. Driver was suspected of Dui but blew a negative breath test. The 28-year-old driver’s mother indicated she was probably on either prescription drugs or methamphetamines.
Saskatchewan, Canada – July 2009 - A $2,500 fine was issue to a man who had caused a collision when driving the wrong way while driving under the influence.
“Court heard two women travelling (sic) southbound on Ring Road between Victoria and Arcola avenues were shocked to suddenly see a truck heading right for them. Witnesses described something between a head-on collision and a side swipe as the two vehicles connected. They estimated the offending vehicle was travelling (sic) at highway speed or somewhat over at the time of impact.”
Los Angeles, California – July 2009 - Stolen vehicle driving wrong-way on La Cienega Bouldevard. Male driving a stolen Lexus SUV.
Indianapolis, Indiana – July 2009 – I-74, eastbound driver in westbound lanes of travel, 59-year-old female driver struck the rear duals then went airborne and struck another semi-truck head-on. The woman was pronounced dead at the scene. She was driving an SUV although the news reports don’t’ say what make and model.
Wrong-way collisions are frightening to think about simply because there are so many deaths associate with being involved in one. Also, considering you have two vehicles, or more, traveling in opposite directions towards each other at 70 M.P.H. the forces generated on impact are tremendous and almost certain death. But we do have to examine them and educate ourselves about how to recognize and to avoid this near-certain death car-truck-motorcycle-SUV-van crash.
Wrong-way Collisions Blog – Brooks Schuelke, Wrong Way Wrecks Are Still A Problem – This recent post is a good starting point because it refers back to other posts on this subject, listing 6 posts for you to review.
Dallas, Texas – July 2009 – Fault & Prevention Discussion - The Transportation Blog by reporter Michael Lindenberger suggests lowering the signs for those going the wrong way. He says with wrong-way drivers it’s all about drunk drivers. I don’t agree with him.
Providence, Rhode Island – July 2009 – Inner City - No Injury – Age of driver unknown - The Providence Journal has Wrong-way driver abandons junker at Waterplace Park; reporting a joy ride was driven the wrong-way inside a pedestrian tunnel. No one killed or injured. Here is a description of the route the car thief took for his joy ride the wrong-way:
At the wheel of a clunker at 2 a.m., a motorist sped the car up over the curb outside the tony condo building and drove through the short pedestrian tunnel under the building, then plunged down two flights of stairs to the railing around Waterplace Park, police Lt. Michael J. Figueiredo said. With nowhere to go but into the water, the driver banked a sharp left, drove over the pedestrian walkway over the river and tried, without success, to take a right onto the handicapped ramp at the Memorial Boulevard end.
So, the motorist backed up, parked outside the condo building's plate-glass windows, and ran off -- leaving behind a puzzle: How to get the battered Nissan back out.
Vancouver - Canada – July 2009 - Hwy 99 – Elderly female – 85-year-old – death and serious injuries - southbound in northbound lanes of Highway 99 – 5:38 PM - Two collisions, the first was one car attempting to avoid colliding with the wrong-way driver and the second was a head-on crash with the wrong-way driver. Driver going wrong way on Highway 99 dies + Confused 85-year-old dies after causing two accidents driving the wrong way on Highway 99.
Dallas, Texas – July 2009 – Dallas North Tollway – June 1, 2009 you can listen to the 9-1-1 call about wrong-way driver on the Dallas North Tollway. Age of driver is 28 years-old, female; head-on collision resulted in killing both drivers. On June 21, 2009 same turnpike a 27 year old male drove head on into another car injuring himself and two other women.
Dallas, Texas – July 2009 – NTTA to use flashing lights to warn drivers when they are heading the wrong direction.
“New reflective buttons, laid out in the shape of arrows, are being put on lanes at each of the 47 exit ramps on the tollway, North Texas Tollway Authority officials said Tuesday. Headlights from a vehicle headed the wrong way on an exit ramp will make the arrows pointing at the driver glow red.
NTTA has also installed 25 new warning signs, bringing the total number of "wrong way" or "do not enter" signs to 215. By comparison, just three people died in 28 wrong-way crashes reported by the Texas Department of Public Safety between 2003 and 2008. At least 18 involved alcohol or drugs, and alcohol has been a factor in three of the five crashes this year. The other two are still under investigation.
"It's a national and international problem," said Allen Clemson, NTTA executive director. "We're not sure it's ever going to go away."
Fulton, NY – July 2009 – I-481 – Friday night, 60-year-old male – south direction in northbound lanes. Three deaths. Driver in wrong-way crash entered highway in Fulton
by Sarah Moses / The Post-Standard , Tuesday July 14, 2009, 8:22 PM
In addition the NTTA is considering three other changes to avoid WWD’s.
The NTTA is considering:
• Installing sensors in pavement that would detect a vehicle headed in the wrong direction so law enforcement could be alerted more quickly.
• Using electronic signs to send messages that would alert motorists that a wrong-way driver is headed their way.
• Lowering "do not enter" signs on exit ramps to make them easier to see.
Twin Cities, Minnesota – July 2009 – 49, y.o. female, OWI – BAC .33 legal is .08. Wrong-way driver on McAndrews Road in Burnside, MN. Slight injuries to both drivers, the story is covered by Pioneer Press.
Baldwinsville, NY – July 2009 – Route 481 – three deaths. A 60 yo male driver driving south in the northbound lanes. Victims were the other driver, age 27 and the at-fault driver’s passenger, 82-year old female.
“State Police released more details Monday on Friday night's crash. Troopers say witnesses reported seeing 60-year-old Gary Foster of Syracuse enter the highway's northbound lanes in Fulton and drive several miles south before colliding with another car driven by Reed. Foster and 82-year-old Jacqueline Grove, a passenger in his car, both died in the accident.”
Scottsdale, Arizona – July 2009 – 36-year-old woman left driveway the wrong-way on Indian School Road resulting in a head-on collision injuring all four people. Charged with DUI/OWI. Drunk Driver Causes Wrong-Way Crash. 11:10 A.M.
Asheville, South Carolina – July 2009 – Good luck figuring this one out. Asheville Police have charged a man after initially charging another man with the same crime.
“Police have charged 37-year old Jimmy Eugene Jordan, of Asheville, and charged him with reckless driving to endanger, speeding, fleeing to elude arrest, driving while license revoked and assault with a deadly weapon on a government official. According to a spokesperson for the Asheville Police Department, due to information given to them by 36-year old Nicole Leah Thompson-Dockery, of Candler, they had charged 43-year old Craig Ross Griffin, of Leicester, with driving the wrong way down a one-way street on July 16 and nearly striking an officer conducting traffic enforcement.
The spokesperson says that Thompson-Dockery, who wanted for Parole and Probations violations in Mecklenburg County, was a passenger in the vehicle at the time of the incident. Officials say she intentionally misled officers and gave them Griffin’s name in order to get him in trouble with police and subsequently Jordan was identified as the driver of the vehicle.
Police are currently seeking Jordan. If anyone has any information as to his whereabouts they are asked to call Asheville Police at (828) 252-1110 or Crime Stoppers at (828) 255-5050.”
Delta, Canada – July 2009 - Highway 99 in Delta, 5:30 PM rush hour, Tuesday, five vehicles, one fatality, traveling southbound in the northbound lanes; a three car collision was caused when a driver attempted to avoid colliding with the wrong-way vehicle. The wrong-way driver was an 81-year-old female who was killed.
Syracuse, NY – July 2009 – Three people died, wrong-way driver on Route 481, 60-year-old male. The at-fault driver had an 82-year-old passenger who also didn’t realize they were traveling the wrong way. The driver of the car they struck was 27-years-old and died in the collision. City of Fulton, New York – July 2009 – Route 481 is the roadway that a driver drove the wrong-way for over 17 miles speeding along before crashing with another vehicle. The 60-year-old driver was driving south in the northbound lanes of travel. The police received 16 emergency calls about this car that was going the wrong-way while Oswego County received 23 phone calls. Channel 9 WSYR also covered this story and has video, both edited and raw footage available for viewing.
Chiriaco Summit, California – July 2009 - I-10, 2:05 A.M., 90-year-old driver and his wife passenger escaped serious injury when their pickup truck driving westbound in the eastbound slow lane collided head-on with a semi-truck. The Ford pickup hit the semi-truck head-on even though the semi driven by a Missouri man swerved towards the fast lane in an attempt to avoid the collision sideswiped a van and ended up in the median.
Canada – Highway 99 – July 2009 - entered from highway 10 – heading southbound on the northbound freeway lanes – 84-year-old woman – the only fatality was the wrong-way driver; all others were injured but not severely – one crash occurred on the other side of the highway when a driver attempting to avoid the wrong-way driver crossed the median striking oncoming motorists. Highway closed for six hours. Speed was 100 km/hr.
Gary Boldt, 62 was driving a motor home nearing Verona, Wisconsin when a dog jumped into his lap. Startled, he lost control, drove across the median of U.S. Highway 151 and crashed head-on with an SUV being driven by John Seier, 55 and Travis Brune, 13 of LaMotte. Boldt is from Pewaukee, Wisconsin.
This would be considered negligence on the part of the driver or even a passenger. Controlling your pet while riding in a vehicle is the driver and owners responsibility. The nature of a dog being somewhat unpredictable does not excuse the driver. The duty to control your driving includes man’s best friend.
It's really pretty shocking how many things can go wrong while on the road that have nothing to do with you or your driving but can kille you anyways. This is one of those instances.
Even though a fiancé’ is not entitled to death benefits under Iowa law a dependent (unborn) child is entitled as is Pierce's (the driver’s) estate. This is another example of an accident that results in the death of a driver while working and there are two sets of claims to pursue. The one set of claims involve the Iowa workers compensation act benefits for dependents and the other set of claims are for negligence related damages from the other driver (in this instance the likely defendants would be the driver that crossed the center line, reported as William Crookshank, 47, of Randolph, Minnesota and his employer) that crossed the center line after rear-ending the semi truck in front of him. Robert Pierce is the driver that died, likely instantaneously.
While practicing in Waterloo in the early 1980’s I settled a case for a woman who was on her way back home from the hairdressers to put on her wedding dress. She was to be married that day within hours of her face being smashed through the windshield of the car she was driving. The law in Iowa does not allow non-married couples to seek consortium damages, even when all that is left to do is have the ceremony. The dependent unborn child is a different situation and an interesting one.
There is no full report from the Iowa State Patrol, at the time of this writing.
This week we are covering highway accidents and how to look at the issue of negligence. On Monday we covered mistakes in passing on a two-lane undivided roadway; then Tuesday we wrote about heading the wrong-way on a four-lane divided interstate highway and today we will discuss crossing the center line that kills the one main witness who could explain why their vehicle may have come across the center line.
We have a young man age 36 of Chelsea driving a Chrysler Sebring heading east on Highway 30 in Tama County, Iowa. Coming from the opposite direction is a semi-truck driven by Robert Nielson of Cedar Rapids. Nielson sees the opposing vehicle coming at him and attempts to avoid the collision by applying his emergency brakes, but with no apparent success. The narrative description given by the Iowa State Patrol is as follows.
UNIT #1 WAS EAST BOUND HWY 30 AND CROSSED THE CENTERLINE INTO THE WEST BOUND LANE. UNIT #2 WAS WESTBOUND ON HWY 30 AND DRIVER #2 APPLIED EMERGENCY BRAKING AND STEERED RIGHT TO TRY TO AVOID STRIKING UNIT #1. UNIT #1 STRUCK UNIT #2 IN THE LEFT REAR DRIVE AXLE. UNIT #2 LEFT THE ROADWAY TO THE RIGHT AND CAME TO REST IN THE NORTH DITCH . UNIT #1 CAME TO REST FACING NORTH ON THE SOUTH SHOULDER OF HWY 30.
That description doesn’t really tell us much about what caused the first vehicle’s driver to come across the center line; we are left to speculate at this point about the whys. As lawyers we aren’t allowed to speculate. We can extrapolate from the known facts but that’s a different skill and the lawyer walks a fine line. Nevertheless it’s something we all must know how to do. In this case the driver of vehicle number who is not identified out of respect, he died, can’t be questioned. And that is why the officer’s report describes events one and two, along with the most harmful event but draws no firm conclusions. In addition this driver died and therefore no citation would be issued. Citations are violations of the rules-of-the-road and give us a very good idea of what fault or negligence we can attribute to the driver who receives the citation. In this case event 1 is crossed centerline and the second event is vehicle in traffic, meaning striking another vehicle that is in traffic. In this case the most harmful event is number two.
Is that the end of our analysis? No it isn’t. As lawyers we must wonder about the driver’s sobriety or whether he may have fallen asleep. To the sobriety issue I note the officer order a urine test; which indicates the officer is also wondering about the driver’s sobriety. My guess is they will not do a urine test but a blood screen for alcohol and drugs. The cause can come back leading us to conclude other causes. The driver may have a heart attack or an epileptic seizure in which case he’s probably not, but not in all cases, to be found at fault. The heart attack angle can be explored by the results of an autopsy when they examine the heart.
What about whether or not the driver fell asleep? How would you prove that might be the case? This accident occurred at 6:49 AM on March 16, 2009. The time of the accident is well after the bars close. The date of the accident may or may not tell us something. St. Patrick’s Day is March 17, 2009 so he’s probably not yet celebrating with an all night binge. Was he gambling all night the Indian Reservation gambling house? Maybe but we’d have to examine his direction of travel and whether the casino is behind him or in front of him. Our analysis could go either way depending on what the evidence shows about whether he gave a ride home to some other gambler. So how can we discover facts that might lead us to know more so we aren’t speculating?
Well, first we would talk with the spouse, co-workers and friends who would know about the driver’s activities over these past 48 hours. If he just got off of work after working double shifts or more, then this could lead us to believe something about him falling asleep at the wheel. That of course assumes his blood work and autopsy findings are clean and clear.
We would also look inside the car to see if there are receipts or other writings telling us more about his activities. I’ve found printed email messages in the glove box indicating other potential witnesses and social plans that lead us to where the decedent was just prior to the collision. As a lawyer you have to put in leather work to discovery the truth about the case. It’s not an easy job and after 28 years and at age 54 I’m still curious about the truth of the matter for which my clients hire me to discover. Actors refer to it as creative energy.
So today’s case doesn’t allow us to conclude anything about whether the driver whose vehicle crossed the center line was at fault. We have to wait and conduct a more thorough investigation. Until then you’re just guessing.
Passing another car requires the driver to exercise judgment about distances, speeds, weather conditions and geographic layout of the road. If you do it wrong you can end up in the ditch, causing an accident or worse yet, killing yourself or someone else.
In this crash, according to the news report, we have Deangleo Pirtle, 21 of Cedar Rapids incorrectly exercising that judgment and causing a head-on collision with an oncoming car. The oncoming car is driven by Anny Mescheryakova, 50 of Corallville, Iowa. In the Pirtle car you have Nathan Gourley, 22 who also ended up in the hospital.
We don’t have all the details so at least at this point we can’t judge Pirtle’s action and why the car he drove came across the center line, but let’s assume for the sake of this discussion about negligence that he was passing a car in front of his. The law requires you to pass only when you can do so safely, so you have to exercise due care. Due care is a broadly defined term that requires the driver to assess the situation including all reasonable risks and to pass when the situation allows you to do so without risk of a collision. So, if you look ahead and there is a hill that blocks your view of what is beyond the hill, then according to the laws of negligence you shouldn’t pass.
If before passing it appears that with the speed limit and the distance between you and an oncoming vehicle there won’t be enough time to pass without hitting the other car head-on or someone ending up in the ditch, then you can’t pass.
Negligence is about fault; failing to do something you’re supposed to do. The big one in this case and probably where everyone will begin their analysis is with Pirtle being over the center line. Why is he there? From there the case of negligence will become clear pretty quickly after the answers begin to show how judgment was exercised.
And in this instance more than likely Anny Mescheryakova and Pirtle’s passenger Nathan Gourley will be filing claims under the Pirtle auto insurance policy.
Today’s post is about negligence, what it is and how to view evidence to appreciate what is negligent behavior. Here is a headline and the opening line of a news story out of Indiana.
Snow causes crash and brief
closing of I-65 near Lowell
LOWELL | An early Saturday snowstorm is being blamed for a traffic accident that briefly closed a south Lake County section of Interstate 65 and left a downstate man injured.
For years I’ve read headlines and opening sentences in news stories with the lines blaming weather conditions for causing accidents. The idea that snow or weather or even slippery conditions can cause an accident is absolutely preposterous. There is snow outside in my driveway this morning and as I walk to the mailbox to retrieve the morning’s newspaper I notice that the driveway is slippery. The slippers I’m wearing don’t quite fit snuggly on my feet. (Acorn slippers) There is a car sitting in the driveway with snow on it and all around it. So far the snow hasn’t caused an accident. Why not? If snow causes accidents why hasn’t my car in the driveway had an accident? It’s been snowing all night and still there is no accident. The driveway is even slippery and so far no accident. I walked all the way down to the end of the driveway and back and still there is no accident. Maybe I should come back in an hour to see if there’s been an accident. What do you think will there be one? Will I come out to find the fenders crunched and wrecked car?
What’s necessary to have an accident? That’s the place where negligence starts. We need a driver or drivers. No driver and I dare say the car, snow and slippery driveway can coexist all day without having an “accident”.
Now let us turn the discussion to duty. As a juror sitting in a civil car accident case or as the judge will say, a tort case, there are four elements to be proven and then analyzed. The four elements are duty, a breach of duty, proximate cause and damages. Today we are looking at the first two elements, duty and breach of duty. Back to the snow.
As a lawyer with 28 plus years of experience trying civil lawsuits I am confident in saying snow has no duty not to be slippery or to avoid falling on the public highways. I am equally confident in my assertion that no judge would instruct a jury that any law required snow, not to be slippery or on the highway. That I am certain. Drivers on the other hand do have certain duties. A duty is a standard or rule of the road (a law or regulation) that driver must follow in using the public highways. Those duties can include restrictions on speed, when to pass, when not to pass, which side of the road each car should be driving, when to brake and when to make adjustments to the manner in which they drive. Adjustments are the key to this analysis. If it snows and the roadway is slippery the driver must slow down and operate the car or truck in a manner that allows the vehicle to be safely operated. It is the driver who has a duty not the snow. The slick conditions are just that; a condition which the driver must evaluate and adjust his or her driving habits to avoid colliding with other cars, trucks, people, signs, buildings, bridges, culverts and other fixed or moving objects. Drivers are what is needed in my driveway before there can be an accident and it’s those drivers that have the duty and can breach the duty. So when you’re sitting on a jury and someone says that it was the snow or other weather that caused the accident, explain to them how wrong they are and then sit back, hopefully you've wore that power tie or skirt, and see how quickly you’ll become the foreperson.
Here is the full report from Indiana about the snow having caused an accident. While it’s permissible with news reporters to write this way, it’s not proper for lawyers or jurors to think this way. People cause accidents, not weather or cars without drivers.
Snow causes crash and brief
closing of I-65 near Lowell
LOWELL | An early Saturday snowstorm is being blamed for a traffic accident that briefly closed a south Lake County section of Interstate 65 and left a downstate man injured.
Indiana State Police said Kevin Tomeo, 30, of Avon, In., west of Indianapolis, suffered head and internal injures. He was transported to St. Anthony Medical Center in Crown Point.
The National Weather Service said Saturday an overnight snow system deposited a half inch of snow across much of Northwest Indiana.
Police said an unidentified passenger car was southbound on I-65 shortly after 3 a.m. Saturday when it lost control on a patch of black ice that formed from snow melt at the 238 mile marker, two miles south of the Indiana 2 exit.
Police said the passenger car pulled out of the skid and continued unharmed, but Tomeo's Jeep Cherokee, which was traveling behind it, lost control when he attempted to brake to avoid a collision.
Police said the Jeep began spinning, hit the guard rail and bounced back onto the highway where it was hit by a 2003 Mack truck pulling a double trailer.
Police said the tractor trailer jackknifed, hit the guard rail on the right side of the pavement and came to a halt, blocking all southbound lanes of travel for two and a half hours.
Police said the tractor trailer driver, Roosevelt Bell, 28, of Park Forest, Ill., was uninjured, but ticketed for driving too fast for road conditions.
The National Weather Service said temperatures will remain in the low 30s, but no more snow is forecast until Tuesday.
The Gazette reports a Texas man driving the wrong way on Interstate 80 sideswiped to semi-trucks and then struck a third head-on. A few years ago one of our clients was killed when she was involved in a similar accident with an elderly driver who did the same. The divided highway system does create some issues with site distances and signs creating some confusion. There is no indication of alcohol being drunk by the driver.