Photo from CNN
Today’s Mardi Gras celebration got off to a disastrous start on Saturday evening in New Orleans when an intoxicated driver crashed into families along a parade route. 28 people were injured, many seriously. It is a miracle no one was killed.
And in a collision today in Alabama, an SUV suddenly sped up and crashed into a marching band. 12 middle and high school students were hurt, some seriously. Alcohol is not suspected in this accident.
In the New Orleans wreck, the pickup truck driver, a 25-year-old male who worked as a bouncer at a bar, was racing down the street at 6:30 p.m. when he crashed into several vehicles. He lost control of his truck, drove across a median, bounced off a dump truck, and drove into the crowd.
The driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) was a shocking .232 — almost thee times the legal limit in Louisiana (.08%) and Texas. Estimating a weight of 180 pounds, he drank 11 to 12 drinks over a three hour period, depending on food consumed and the length of time involved.
At first, these two crashes sounded like the recent terror attacks in Europe involving trucks. As I often ask, what is going on out there?
Photo from The New Orleans Advocate
Why was this guy in New Orleans behind the wheel? And how was he that drunk at six in the evening? Did any one try to stop him? If his BAC had risen to .27 his own death from alcohol poisoning was a distinct possibility. BAC is the percentage of ethanol in the bloodstream, so 0.1 means there are 0.10 grams of alcohol for every decaliter of blood.
You also have to ask, how can we stop this criminal behavior from occurring day after day?
And who will repay the victims for their damages?
Do auto collision victims always get paid back?
Unfortunately, there won’t be much financial compensation in New Orleans to go around 28 ways.
The insurance limits in Louisiana only total $15,000 for any one person and $30,000 for all persons injured in a vehicle collision. And I thought our limits of $30,000/60,000 were low here in Texas. Most people only carry this amount of insurance — if they carry liability insurance at all.
Hopefully the injured victims also had health insurance and had met their deductibles (unlikely in February)/had low co-pays and were taken to in network facilities, governmental assistance, underinsured motorist benefits, and personal injury protection benefits to pay for their medical bills, lost wages, and other damages. These are serious issues in any car wreck case.
Suing this punk in a civil court and obtaining a judgment will presumably be an exercise in futility.
Criminal charges for intoxication assault have been filed. Woo hoo, another guy locked up in jail that taxpayers have to support.
DWI’s – the unspoken menace
Driving while intoxicated wrecks are an epidemic in Texas and across the U.S.
According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, 27 people die every day in a DWI wreck and hundreds of others suffer injuries. And one-third of the drivers are repeat offenders. More terrible statistics about drunk driving crashes from MADD are here.
My law firm has represented many victims of DWI crashes over the past 37 years. I see the sometimes horrific losses that are caused as a result.