Articles Posted in Automobile Accidents

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iStock_000016429140XSmallThe story of a young teen who received a life-saving heart transplant has ended in a tragic and horrific car crash. The Georgia young man was placed on a waiting list and received a heart transplant in a somewhat controversial medical situation in 2013.  He received the support of many who wanted to give him a second chance at life. Initially physicians in Atlanta were reluctant to provide him the new heart due to non-compliance concerns — specifically, that he would not take the proper medications after the transplant. But in the end, his supporters were able to convince the medical community that he should receive the new heart. And although he said he intended this to be a second chance and that he would change his path, which involved trouble with the law, that was not to be.

The young teen passed away recently after attempting to evade police who tried to stop him after an alleged home invasion of an elderly woman who had called 911. After he failed to stop for officers, they began chasing his vehicle. Prior to the chase, the allegations in this tragic end included the teen having engaged in the home invasion, stolen a vehicle and crashing it after having shot at a woman and hit another vehicle and a pedestrian. It appears that the others injured in the auto crash, will survive. But the young man’s injuries were too severe for his survival. He died in the crash of the allegedly stolen vehicle in Roswell, Georgia.

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DriverlessGoogle seems to have a strong hold on much of what we do on line, but will Google take over driving our cars while we happily sit back and chat on the phone, write emails or get our work done as well? Actually this is likely to occur in the future and some states are already adopting regulations relating to these vehicles. But for now, Georgia has said it is too early to create a regulatory scheme for a technology that is so early in its development. Georgians are innovative people, we have some of the best tech institutions and companies in the world here, but some innovations have longer adoption cycles and need to be proven to be safe before we use them. And so it is that the autonomous vehicle that has no driver and does not include the controls we are used to seeing in motor vehicles, will not be seen on our roads or highways any time soon. A Georgia legislative panel has been looking into the wisdom of regulating this technology as other states have done and has published its finding: and that is a “no go” on that aspect of this innovation.

Many readers have seen film clips of these driverless cars. Google has created one that drives around its California campus … with no driver. Presumably, if Google has its way, the technology will be made available to all one day.  Passengers will be riding along without the need to pay attention to the road at all. The final word for now, which may not in fact be the final word is “proceed with caution.” In its report, the Autonomous Vehicle Technology Study Committee determined that the technology is at too early a stage for Georgia to begin regulating it. Instead, our state will wait and see. The report notes that a better approach is to allow the technology to mature and let the regulatory process follow. On the other hand, the report welcomes the developers of this technology to view Georgia as a place to come for a skilled technology work force and would open the doors to having a role in bringing the technology to the market.

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Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for emergencyvehicle.jpegFor two decades now, HERO units have been used in and around metro Atlanta to get traffic flowing after an accident on our interstate highways. This work has proven very important as our traffic congestion has worsened over this period, especially in the Atlanta metro area. HERO units are also able to provide some support to those stranded on the road due to mechanical problems with their vehicles or even when someone in the vehicle needs first aid of some sort. Recently, our HERO’s have even been provided updated uniforms, in conjunction with the 20th Anniversary of the program. HERO work is very helpful to our community. It can also be dangerous when, in the process of clearing an accident or attending to stranded drivers, others on the road do not drive carefully around them.

Just such an incident is currently under investigation after a HERO unit was hit by a vehicle on I-20 as the unit was present following an accident. Tragically, the HERO unit was working on a fatal single vehicle crash in which a driver had been ejected. The initial determination is that the original driver lost control of his vehicle after attempting to change lanes. While the HERO unit was doing its work, a distracted driver, who was also allegedly traveling too fast, hit the HERO unit and another vehicle. That driver was charged with speeding and other violations.

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Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for iStock_000017099921XSmall.jpgAtlanta’s local and global CNN has just published the entire list of every vehicle that General Motors has recalled during 2014. The list is stunning and worth a look to ensure that your vehicle is not on it. If you own a vehicle that is on this list, you could well avoid serious injury or even death, as some vehicles on this list have significant defects that have done just that. Those owners who sit back and think it won’t happen to them, it won’t be their car or truck that ends up having one of these recalled defects, are taking a significant risk. This is something that cannot be stressed enough. Don’t let that recall notice sit in your mail pile, make an appointment and get your car in for service.

The GM recalls are unprecedented in their breadth and depth. In general, CNN Money reports that one in every five US vehicles has been recalled this year. There are one million vehicles currently on the road that have uncorrected defects. This includes GM and non-GM vehicles, but it is also a stunning number. What happened to the quality control at GM could happen at any company. It was a combination of faulty parts, a culture of silence and a lack of executive responsibility. The GM recalls have cost the company $2.5 billion and there was no profit this past quarter. The CEO Mary Barra has stated that it may well be a no-bonus year for GM workers.

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Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for emergencyvehicle.jpegIn recent years we have seen an increase in dangerous situations arising from those evading law enforcement on our roads and highways. Just last week in California, a California Highway Patrol officer on a motorcycle was unable to stop or to cite a group of riders also on motorcycles who were taunting him. Although these riders engaged in numerous violations, the officer had to let them ride off, since he had to wait for back up and the riders failed to respond to his siren and signal to pull over. Once back-up arrived he and his colleague tried to follow the riders, but this chase became too dangerous once it was off the highway and on city streets. Although in this situation there was no one injured, it could have become very dangerous. It seems that increasingly there is a failure on the part of some to do things we used to take for granted, such as pulling over for an emergency vehicle or for law enforcement. And as this disrespectful, and often illegal, way of responding to the instructions of our law enforcement and first responders rises, so does the impact on innocent bystanders.

Case in point, the price that one teen may pay for having attempted to evade Georgia State Patrol officers as they pursued him in a stolen vehicle. His alleged failure to stop now means that he will be charged as an adult in Fulton County not just for stealing a vehicle, but for murder. As he attempted to get away from law enforcement, he is alleged to have run a red light and in turn crashed into another vehicle that was traveling through the same intersection, killing a passenger. Yet another vehicle was hit during this pursuit and others were injured. Reports indicated that five individuals were taken to the hospital after this hot chase. This teen has many charges to deal with now, including DUI, unlicensed driving, serious injury by vehicle and many more.

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DUI Picture 1.jpgA recent Gwinnett County car crash may well have been the result of excessive speed and alcohol use. This often-deadly combination is part of the investigation currently under way after a tragedy occurred in Buford. The crash occurred in the early morning hours, which is statistically a more dangerous time to mix driving, drinking and speed. The first reports of the crash are that two men were fatally injured as they traveled together. As their vehicle approached an intersection, the man who was driving did not stop at a stop sign at the intersection of the Buford Highway. Unfortunately and tragically, a second vehicle was driving on the Buford Highway approaching that same intersection at the same time. The second vehicle was unable to stop in time to avoid hitting the car in which the men were traveling. Although the facts are not clear yet, it is possible that the second vehicle was driving faster than the speed limit and there may have been alcohol involved. The two adults and two children in that vehicle sustained injuries that were reportedly not life threatening. The two men lost their lives.

It is not reported whether the driver of the vehicle that hit the men’s car will be charged with any crimes. There are currently no facts that would indicate the specific charges that might flow from this tragic crash. Possibly excessive speed could be charged, as well as Georgia’s homicide by vehicle laws in some degree might be under consideration by authorities. It is not clear whether the suspected alcohol involved the fatally injured driver or the driver who hit the vehicle in which the two men travelled.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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