Daycare License Revocation After Toddler's Death

August 13, 2014, by

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for 1175023_magnolia.jpgThe tragic death of a three-year old in Alpharetta last month has resulted in license revocation of the day care facility in which he was killed and the filing of a civil law suit by the child's parents. The owner of the facility has been in business for 25 years. Her home serves as a day care center and is licensed by the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning. The agency investigated the event that ended in the child's death and based on that, noted that there were significant violations including dangerous conditions on the property. The allegation with regard to the child's death is that part of a twine type cord was on the play yard swing and the child apparently was caught in that rope and essentially was asphyxiated. The child was left on his own for a short period of time when the tragedy occurred. Although the care giver contacted emergency support and applied CPR, the child ultimately passed away at a local hospital.

The owner of the center has appealed the license revocation. She will have an opportunity to present her case once the Office of State Administrative Hearings sets a date for her to tell her story and why she should be able to stay in business.

Sadly, this horrific death is not the first of its kind in the recent past. A child in England died in similar manner in 2012. She was caught in a rope that had been at the top of the slide. She as alone for 20 minutes and had passed away by the time she was found. It was her first day of nursery school. That center was also criticized for an alleged failure to follow safety rules. Both the facility and the care giver responsible for the child were taken to court. The nursery school was supposed to put ropes away when children were not playing with them and no child was to be on a slide alone. In that little child's case, the physician stated that she might have been saved had she been found sooner.

Continue reading "Daycare License Revocation After Toddler's Death" »

Cobb County Judge Allows Family to Reopen GM Lawsuit

August 10, 2014, by

iStock_000001983354XSmall.jpgA Cobb County judge is making national headlines by permitting the family of a deceased woman to reopen their case against General Motors. As noted in prior posts, the parents of Brooke Melton, who died after her GM Chevrolet ignition switch failed, sought to unwind the settlement previously reached with the auto giant. The deceased woman's case is very significant in that it helped reveal the faulty ignition defect which led to the largest automotive recall in the country's history. The judge has now determined that the Melton family can begin discovery related to potential fraud by the company is covering up what they might have known about the defect and present material evidence that has come to light since the settlement was reached.

In the latest hearing, GM tried to convince the court that the settlement it had reached with the family should stand and that the case should not be permitted to be reopened. The lawyer for the automaker argued that if the Melton's settlement could be reopened, there would be no finality in the process and parties would not be able to rely on settlements reached as being final. But the court disagreed and is allowing the family to reopen the case in what is essentially a new case, that will include the information that has come to light since the case was settled. The Melton family is now able to go forward to pursue in discovery what GM knew about the ignition switch defects prior to their daughter's death.

Continue reading "Cobb County Judge Allows Family to Reopen GM Lawsuit " »

Cobb County Parents Bring Case Against GM Home

July 24, 2014, by

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for iStock_000001983354XSmall.jpgWe have recently posted on the many recalls that General Motors has issued on their vehicles that has taken center stage for the auto maker and its reputation. Most Americans do not have a personal connection with the recalls, but some families have suffered tragic losses due to defects that GM is alleged to have known about and covered up. GM says it intends to ensure that its corporate culture changes. The sheer number of recalls and defective parts is staggering. But apparently the American public believes in their future and is still buying their vehicles.

The recalls and the deaths that resulted from a defective ignition switch has literally come home to the Atlanta area. The parents of a deceased woman whose life was allegedly lost due to the defective ignition switch is front and center local news. The Cobb County parents have returned to the state court and their case is now before a Cobb County state court judge. Its pathway home is an interesting procedural journey that includes their recent win in federal court. A Georgia federal district judge remanded their case back to Cobb County. His ruling rejected the argument made by GM that the couple had joined a local GM dealer solely for the purpose of getting state court jurisdiction over the case and seeking to avoid federal jurisdiction. Although the couple received $5 million in a settlement with GM, they are alleging that since the settlement was reached much more information has been revealed. This information reveals more about the company's knowledge of the ignition switch defect, and other defects. More information has also come to light about GM's attempts to cover up what allegedly they knew was a dangerous defect in the ignition switch that the couple believes caused their daughter's death.

Continue reading "Cobb County Parents Bring Case Against GM Home " »

Cobb County Wrong Way DUI Injures Two

July 23, 2014, by

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for DrunkDriver3.jpgFor decades, we have known that excessive alcohol and driving are not a good combination. After many years of involvement in Georgia Mother's Against Drunk Driving, I am all too aware that the consequences of drinking and driving are not only inherently dangerous, but unpredictable. Those who have been convicted of crimes related to DUI and are serving sentences in prison for injuring or killing others on the road, will likely tell you that if they had to do it over again they would have found another way to get home from that party, from that bar from that gathering with friends where they had "a little too much." Those who have been convicted and who present their stories to audiences, such as high school students, note that the first thing to go is judgment.

That result was recently evidenced in Cobb County when a teen driver attended a party and ended up driving on the wrong side of the road, causing serious injury to two people. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the teen hit another vehicle head on while driving in the opposite lane of traffic. The teen is lucky in one sense. Those injured in the other vehicle will survive their injuries, although medical intervention was required due to broken bones and other injuries. The young driver herself needed some medical treatment. The allegedly drunk driver has now been charged with felonies, including two counts of serious injury by vehicle and related crimes. This crime is codified at the Official Code of Georgia Annotated section 40-6-394.

Continue reading "Cobb County Wrong Way DUI Injures Two " »

Medical Emergency Cause of Fatal Truck Crash?

July 7, 2014, by

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for 1175023_magnolia.jpgRecently, a Hall County collision between an SUV and a tractor trailer resulted in the deaths of three children and two adults. An absolutely tragic situation, this collision may have been caused by the sudden seizure of the SUV's driver. After this terrible tragedy occurred, the fiancé of the SUV's driver was interviewed and he told WSBTV that she should not have been driving and that the crash may have been caused by an epileptic seizure. It is possible that this horrific accident may well have been the result of a medically impaired driver who entered into oncoming traffic and directly into a tractor-trailer. It is devastating to the families involved, including the truck driver who was not at fault in this particular crash. Two of the driver's children were in the vehicle at the time of the crash and did not survive. One child decided to stay at home and play and another lives elsewhere. The other deceased passengers were very close family friends. The toxicology reports will come later, and whether the five deceased vehicle occupants were wearing seat belts is not known.

Some will remember that just last year, a truck driver suffered a medical emergency and crashed into a Gwinnett County strip mall. The driver passed away after crashing into two businesses. In that situation, the driver had just been at the doctor's office having a post-operative examination after eye surgery. He had been cleared by his doctors to return to work. Amazingly, no one in the businesses was harmed, including kids in a karate studio. In that accident, the driver also jumped the median.

Continue reading "Medical Emergency Cause of Fatal Truck Crash? " »

Summer Water Fun, Still Dangerous

June 26, 2014, by

Thumbnail image for swimming-pool-100155245.jpgThe recent report of a young, strong man losing his life in a swimming accident is another example of the dangers that summer swimming can bring. Reports indicate that the 20 year-old was taking a swim across a local pond in Brunswick, Georgia and was unable to make it across. When he called out for help from a friend who was with him, she was not able to get to her friend. She nearly drowned trying to help him. The young man's community and family are devastated as he was a be loved son, a brother and friend to many. This most recent pond tragedy occurred around the same time as several other Georgia drowning tragedies in our lakes and rivers. Only a couple of weeks ago, three drownings occurred at Lake Lanier. This terrible day on the lake included the death of a father who tried to save his son from drowning. They had been tossing a ball that went into the water and when the teen son went into the water to retrieve the ball, both ended up struggling for their lives as the dad tried to save his son. Neither was able to survive this struggle.

When these drowning accidents occur, we think again about water safety. Each situation is different and even when children, teens and adults know how to swim, it can be difficult in situations that involve natural water, currents and other objects. But as we know from recent local tragedies, including a child who fell into a club pool, these accidents can occur quickly and without warning. For example, there are about 400 teen and child drownings per year in the United States that involve pools and spas. The majority of these drownings take place at private homes and take the lives of kids under the age of five.

Continue reading "Summer Water Fun, Still Dangerous" »

"Look Again" for Child Safety

June 20, 2014, by

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for 1175023_magnolia.jpgThis week our community has been the subject of national news coverage of another child left in a car to suffer heat stroke and die. The Today Show has reported on the tragedy just this morning. A Cobb County four-year-old life was cut short after his father allegedly failed to take him to day care, left him in the car and went to work, only to remember that he was in the back seat while driving home. According to USA Today, which picked up our local story, in the past 14 years, over 500 kids have lost their lives being left in vehicles in the heat. The child's dad has now been charged with murdering his son. Although there have been other cases in the past around the country in which parents have left kids in vehicles and gone to work, some are not charged at all after authorities conclude that the situation was purely accidental and others, as happened in this case, are charged with felonies as authorities determine that the severe negligence warrants a criminal charge. In this case, the father has been charged with two crimes under Georgia law, including cruelty to children in the first degree and murder.

Just last month, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal announced a campaign called "Look Again." This effort is targeted at parents and caregivers to check the back seat of their vehicles to avoid leaving a child behind. Often these cases involve parents who are distracted and going to work. In the past four years, nearly ten children have died in this way just in Georgia alone. In the Cobb County case, once the dad realized as he was driving home that his son was in the back seat, his efforts to revive his little boy were fruitless. He was said to be very distraught at the scene. There have been similar cases in which one parent is supposed to take a child to day care, but forgets. This situation can happen when a routine is broken or a parent is distracted. This week alone, a Florida infant was left behind her dad's truck and died.

Continue reading ""Look Again" for Child Safety" »

Change to Truck Driver "Restart" Rule May Falter

June 12, 2014, by

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Truck4.jpgWhat a difference a week makes. Last week, a United States Senate panel gave the green light to an amendment to federal law that would alter the existing rest and sleep requirements for truck drivers. Changing the rules that have been structured to avoid driver fatigue is controversial and has been brought front and center since the tragic crash in New Jersey last week that we posted on for our readers.

The proposed amendment to pull back on restrictions on driver hours, is viewed by many as a step in the wrong direction. Those who are involved in highway safety are against the change that would push back the requirement that truck drivers be allowed time off during certain hours and take consecutive hours off before restarting their work week. The existing rules were put in place only recently and after much study, to lower the risk of fatigue on drivers. Along with other provisions, the current rules mandate that drivers must take two nights of consecutive rest in the hours between 1 am and 5 am. -- also called the "restart" rule. The proponent of altering this rule claims that it puts more trucks on the roads in daylight hours which presents a safety risk to other drivers. Opponents of changing the rules have said that studies on driver fatigue indicate the rest is key to safer driving.

Continue reading "Change to Truck Driver "Restart" Rule May Falter" »

Georgia Truck Driver Charged in Tracy Morgan Crash

June 10, 2014, by

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Truck4.jpgWalmart trucks are everywhere and most likely there are hundreds, if not thousands on the road in any given day in America. This past weekend a Walmart truck was involved in a terrible truck crash on the New Jersey Turnpike. Walmart has pledged to work with authorities after this weekend's tragic truck crash which left one man dead and several others critically injured, including Tracy Morgan.

The type of accident that took Morgan's comedy mentor's life -- is one that we have posted about in the past. It concerns a driver who is alleged to have fallen asleep at the wheel, swerving and then striking another vehicle that ended up overturned and engaged other vehicles in its wake. This is one of the most dangerous and common causes of serious truck crashes. The truck driver is now accused of several serious criminal counts, including vehicular homicide which is similar to Georgia's homicide by vehicle found at Official Code of Georgia section 40-6-393.

Continue reading "Georgia Truck Driver Charged in Tracy Morgan Crash " »

Cobb County Hit and Run Causes Teen Deaths

May 31, 2014, by

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for iStock_000015148283XSmall.jpgThis past week, two teens lost their lives and one was injured after a tragic and senseless hit-and run crash. Before going further, we want to express our deepest sympathies and condolences to the families and the community that is directly affected by this tragedy. Loss of young life, any life, in such a senseless way is all the more difficult to bear and comprehend. The community is mourning the loss of these young lives which occurred as three friends walked on a spring day on a local sidewalk. The teens were struck by a vehicle in which the driver lost control. The facts are under investigation, but the initial understanding is that the driver was speeding in an attempt to catch another vehicle whose driver avoided paying for locksmith services that had been performed. Allegedly, when the non-paying driver attempted to leave without paying, the locksmith chased him. The locksmith allegedly lost control of his car, which ended up on the sidewalk where the teens were walking and struck them. He is alleged to have left the scene after hitting the teens.

It is difficult to comprehend, but this is the scenario that the authorities have provided for the arrests of the locksmith driver and the non-paying customer. The driver who hit the teens was arrested later still fleeing from responsibility. Both drivers have now been arrested and both drivers are now charged with several violations of Georgia law, including homicide by vehicle in the first degree which is found at Official Code of Georgia section 40-6-393 and several other related charges. The locksmith is also accused of hit and run causing serious injury.

Continue reading "Cobb County Hit and Run Causes Teen Deaths" »

GM Recalls Millions of Vehicles

May 25, 2014, by

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for iStock_000017099921XSmall.jpgBy now, most of us are aware that General Motors has had some explaining to do regarding the millions of vehicles it has recalled in recent months for various problems. Some of these problems could cause death or injury and already have in various accidents and situations. The company has had a rough time dealing with the negative publicity and Congressional interest in the culture that may have allowed these defects to creep into their vehicles. The company went through a bankruptcy and emerging from that with a new Chief Operating Officer, the company was also quickly hit with millions of recalls for a variety of defects in parts and systems that could cause serious injury and reportedly already 13 deaths related to faulty ignition switches. The company is hoping to recover from all of this by instituting a different culture, internal inspectors and other functions that are intended to begin a sea-shift in the company's culture.

Earlier this spring, CEO Mary Barra testified before the House Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee. She took over the company lead in January of this year and although she has worked at the company for decades, she has committed to ensuring that it begin a new culture that is more focused on safety. She has reportedly begun an internal investigation and has issued a direct apology to Congress and effectively to the American consumer and those whose loved ones lost their lives due to faulty ignition switches that caused the deaths of thirteen people in vehicles built in about 2000. These catastrophic defects essentially turned off the ignition suddenly which in turn left those in the vehicle without air bag protections, braking capability and power steering.

Continue reading "GM Recalls Millions of Vehicles" »

For Atlanta Parents: Time for Water and Pool Safety, Part Two

May 7, 2014, by

Thumbnail image for swimming-pool-100155245.jpgIn our latest post, we shared the sadness of the loss of two children in the Atlanta area in recent pool-related drownings. It is a tragedy for all of us when we lose a child in an accidental drowning. And over the past several years, the Atlanta area has seen a number of such tragic accidents including near-drownings in pools and lakes. We live in a beautiful area where we enjoy outdoor activities. We want to remind parents and caregivers about safety around pools, ponds and lakes. In addition to those outlined in our last post -- swimming lessons and fencing -- other key steps can be taken by caregivers and parents to help ensure safety around water with kids.

One of these key steps is close supervision. Just this past week, ABC News reported on a related pool safety issue: lifeguards. They are tasked with watching for dangerous situations in pools, but as parents should we really just rely on them? The piece questioned the wisdom of leaving kids at pools and relying on lifeguards to protect them from injury or drowning. The center of the piece was the tragic drowning of one family's child while at a club pool with a lifeguard on duty. Their life's work is now informing the public about taking responsibility for kids around water and not relying on someone else, including a lifeguard to make sure kids are safe.

Continue reading "For Atlanta Parents: Time for Water and Pool Safety, Part Two" »

For Atlanta Parents: Time for Water & Pool Safety

May 3, 2014, by

swimming-pool-100155245.jpgEarlier this week, the pool at the Ansley Golf Club was the scene of the apparent accidental drowning of young girl. She was only four years old and was in her church preschool. The little girl's passing is being mourned by her community. Her memorial service took place earlier this week. The accidental drowning appears to have occurred with a life guard on duty. The reports on this tragedy indicate that she fell into the pool, but no one saw this happen and no one noticed that she had fallen in. Perhaps this was because the event at which this tragedy took place was a party for the beginning of the pool season. Another recent drowning occurred at a Hall County suburb and took the life a toddler who apparently fell into a private pool. These two tragedies underscore the need for vigilance when kids are around swimming pools, lakes and ponds over the summer. Even the bath tub or a wading pool can be lethal, so we all need to remind ourselves about the things that can keep kids safer around water and water play.

Our Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control have made many recommendations for parents and caregivers to keep kids safe in areas where water is present. It is important to review these recommendations, some of which are included here.
The extent of this problem might be surprising. Two of every ten fatalities involving drowning involve children. Statistically, these children are under the age of about fourteen. Nearly 4,000 people are involved in unintentional drownings on an annual basis. Drownings that do not cause death can result in other life-changing problems including brain damage and related catastrophic injuries. Having represented victims of catastrophic injury, these injuries not only impact the victim, but the family and friends of that victim. These life-changing injuries often require ongoing support for many years.

Continue reading "For Atlanta Parents: Time for Water & Pool Safety " »

Dad Arrested After Crash Causes Unborn Baby's Passing

April 18, 2014, by

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for 1175023_magnolia.jpgAfter a very sad incident, a recent arrest in our area demonstrates what the law says about the death of an unborn child in a crash. In this accident, the baby's dad was driving the vehicle in which his wife was riding as a passenger. The Carroll County resident made an attempt to avoid responsibility for the passing of his unborn baby in this auto crash. But after investigation, he was arrested for the crime of feticide in the first degree as well as insurance fraud. The crime of feticide is found in Official Code of Georgia Annotated section 40-6-393.1. This crime carries a penalty of imprisonment for between two and 15 years. The death of an unborn baby is tragic under any circumstances. In this case, it is truly a somber event, given that the dad was at the wheel of the vehicle involved.

The father of the baby was driving in with his wife on South Cobb Drive and ended up on the wrong side of the road. He hit another vehicle. The driver of the other vehicle sustained some significant injuries. And his pregnant wife was injured as well. But the unborn baby was not able to withstand the impact of the crash and died at WellStar Kennestone Hospital. Both the driver and his wife are alleged to have claimed that she was driving the car at the time of the crash. His license was already suspended and he was not supposed to be behind the wheel due to this fact. However, after a review of the evidence, the authorities determined that in fact the wife had not been the driver, the husband was driving and both allegedly tried to hide this fact. The parties have been charged with insurance fraud and the father of the baby faces the additional serious charges related to feticide.

Continue reading "Dad Arrested After Crash Causes Unborn Baby's Passing" »

Distracted Driving Caused Cobb County Fatality

April 15, 2014, by

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for distracted driver.jpgThere is no doubt that distracted driving has become a dangerous practice among drivers throughout the country and within Georgia and the metro Atlanta area. Perhaps it is human nature to believe that we are above any tragedy that could occur if we text and drive or use our phones to make a call while trying to steer our vehicles. Unfortunately, this is actually a false sense of security, because it has been shown again and again that these distractions make it difficult for drivers to consistently manage the many faculties needed to properly and safely drive a motor vehicle. In a crash that occurred last month in the Austell area, one woman lost her life and another is now under arrest for this activity that is alleged to have caused a terrible crash on the C.H. James Parkway.

The driver alleged to have caused the crash that led to the death of a 36-year old female local basketball coach, had a text on her phone, calls that were received and a call that was made at the time of the crash. She apparently deleted the text to try to keep police from seeing that she had done this before the crash took place. But this information is not possible to delete or to avoid from the ultimate view of investigators in a situation like this. The police have finished their investigation and as a result, have charged the driver with a violation of Official Code of Georgia Annotated § 40-6-393 which includes second-degree homicide by vehicle. She has also been charged with violating involving driving too closely to the vehicle ahead of her and driving with a license that had expired.

Continue reading "Distracted Driving Caused Cobb County Fatality " »