On Christmas Eve, a 31-year-old man was found guilty of manslaughter and failing to stop and render aid after he crashed into Rachel Lynn Spelman last year on Cedar Springs Road. After hitting her at a speed of 53 in a 30 mph zone, the man kept driving — all the way to Oklahoma. There he repaired the car’s windshield and hid. At trial on Monday, the hit and run driver actually had the nerve to blame his victim for crossing the street in front of him. With his criminal activity, arrogant attitude, and prior history of driving while intoxicated and reckless driving, the judge sentenced him to the maximum 20 years for failing to stop and render aid and 10 years for manslaughter.
This story angers us and would be horrible to read any time, but especially during the holidays. This beautiful woman had just graduated from Texas A & M with a 4.0 average and was working for Hewlett Packard in Plano. And on a personal level, she was a member of the same sorority Mr. Berenson’s daughter, who also works in Plano, was in when she attended Southern Methodist University. We send our sincerest condolences to her family and hope that no other family has to go through this nightmare.
A driver is required under the Texas Transportation Code Section 550.021 to stop and take action after a collision that causes injury, even if it is only property damage.
If there is injury or death, he or she must return to where the crash occurred, render aid, and provide identification. Fleeing can result in a conviction for a third degree felony, as happened in Dallas on Monday.
If there is only property damage to a parked and not occupied vehicle, he must stop, try to locate the driver or owner, and leave a note with identifying information. Failing to do so can result in a conviction for a Class C misdemeanor and a fine up to $500.00 and six months in a county jail.
Why do people do this? Our law office sees drivers fleeing collision scenes because they are intoxicated, unlicensed or driving on a suspended license, illegal, uninsured, driving a stolen vehicle, don’t want the owner of the car or employer to know what happened — or a combination of these.
On the other hand, if you mistakenly hit another vehicle, don’t panic and drive away. Give your name, insurance policy, driver’s license, and other identifying information to the other driver. Call the police. Call an ambulance if needed. Move your car out of traffic.
Our injury law office only represents people who have been injured in car and truck collisions. We have handled many of these hit and run cases over the past 38 years and will guide you through what can be a difficult process.
These are your best options:
We are certainly hoping this has not happened to you or someone you know. We are also hoping word about what happened in Dallas on Monday will get out and encourage drivers to slow down and stop after causing a crash and call for medical assistance.
If you are researching a personal injury attorney to help you recover your damages in a car accident, call us at 1-885-801-8585 or click here.
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