Charges against a driver involved in an accident during an illegal car meetup have now been upgraded as one of the victims of the accident has died.
One man was killed and two teenage boys between 14 and 17 were injured when the racing driver struck the back of a bystander’s vehicle. One of the teens later died in the hospital.
A driver is facing two counts of manslaughter and one count of aggravated assault-reckless driving with serious bodily injury following a collision that took place on Sunday, Feb. 21, during an illegal car meetup.
The meetup took place in northwest Houston, which led to the 9:30 p.m. crash on the 14900 block of Northwest Freeway near West York Road.
Authorities with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office reported that a 22-year-old driver was traveling westbound on the service road at 14900 Northwest Freeway at a high rate of speed when his yellow 2018 Chevrolet Camaro struck the left rear-end of a black 2017 Chevrolet Malibu. As a result of the crash, the Malibu was forced off the roadway and onto a nearby sidewalk. Several pedestrians were struck in the process as well.
Two fatalities occurred as a result of this wreck, though it is unclear whether the deceased were passengers or pedestrians. One man in his mid-30s died soon after the collision. Two teenage boys between the ages of 14 and 17 were also seriously injured in the crash and hospitalized. One of the two boys passed away on the morning of Monday, Feb. 22, leading to the upgraded charge.
This incident remains under investigation by the Harris County Sheriff’s Office Vehicular Crimes Division.
Seeking Compensation After a Car Accident Involving Criminal Charges
Following your average car accident, the most difficult part of seeking compensation is often determining liability. Determining who was responsible for a “normal” crash can be tricky, especially since some amount of responsibility may fall on multiple parties.
However, cases involving criminal charges could give victims an easier path to justice when it comes to arguing liability.
It is worth noting that the criminal proceedings related to the case and your claim for compensation are not the same thing. If criminal charges have been brought against the person who caused your accident, you will still need to either make a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company or file a civil suit if you want payment for your losses. With that, criminal proceedings may give your lawyer an advantage by revealing the defendant’s strategy.
Your lawyer may advise you to file a personal injury lawsuit against the defendant in order to seek a court’s decision on the compensation you may be owed. Even if the defendant was found not guilty of their criminal charges, a civil court may still determine that they can be held liable for the crash due to their actions. While a criminal court only needs reasonable doubt to find a defendant not guilty, a civil court does not follow this rule.
Criminal charges may also give victims an avenue for seeking punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded to victims when a court finds the at-fault party’s actions particularly reckless or irresponsible.
Nevertheless, being found guilty of a criminal charge is not the same as being found liable for a crash. For instance, just because a person has been convicted of drunk driving, it does not prove that their drunk driving caused the crash. Because of this, we highly recommend speaking to a Houston car accident attorney prior to speaking to an insurance adjuster.
If you’ve been involved in a Texas car accident caused by the actions or negligence of another party, contact the Houston car accident attorneys of Lapeze and Johns, PLLC, for help.