Running a red light is a dangerous thing to do. Recently, dangerous turned into deadly: according to sunsentinel.com, five teenagers are dead after another young man ran a red light in the early hours of Sunday morning and t-boned their vehicle.
Ran A Red Light
At about 12:25 a.m. Sunday morning, 21-year-old Jabari S. Kemp of Florida City drove his 2008 Mercedes Benz into the side of the victims’ 1994 Lexus, causing it to rollover. Police has identified four of the occupants of the Lexus as 21-year-old Jason A. Mahlung; 17-year-old Shonteria Grimsley; 14-yer-old Makita Campbell; and 17-year-old Christina Oliver Joseph. They were all from Riviera Beach, Florida. Three of the passengers in the Lexus were not wearing their seat belts and were ejected from the vehicle upon impact. It is not clear whether the driver was buckled up. The fifth occupant of the vehicle was wearing his seatbelt, but his name has not been released pending notification to his family.
The duty to stop at a red light is established by Florida Statute 316.075 (1) (c) (1), which states in relevant portion that “Vehicular traffic facing a steady red signal shall stop before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection or, if none, then before entering the intersection and shall remain standing until a green indication is shown.” Considering that Mr. Kemp failed to stop at the red light, he is presumed to be at-fault driver. As a result of his injuries, Mr. Kemp had to be transported to the Hospital in serious, but stable condition. The accident is under investigation as a possible traffic homicide and no charges have been filed as of yet.
Many Still Don’t Wear Seat Belts
It is unknown if there would have been as many fatalities if all the Lexus’ victims were wearing their safety belts. Florida Statute 316.614 (4) (b) establishes that it is unlawful “to operate a motor vehicle in this state unless the person is restrained by a safety belt.” According to sun-sentinel.com, just between Thursday and Sunday of last week, eleven people lost their lives in car accidents in Palm Beach County alone. Seven of them were not wearing their seat belts and six were ejected from their vehicles. Authorities estimate that about fifty percent of the drivers in Palm Beach County do not buckle up.
Four Days of Multiple Car Accident Fatalities
For example, 30-year-old Mariano Rivera and 20-year-old Susan Miller, both residents of Port St. Lucie, were not wearing their seat belts and were ejected from the vehicle when Mr. Rivera lost control while driving North on I-95 close to Donald Ross Road on Sunday. After they were ejected, the two occupants landed on the southbound lanes, where they were struck by a vehicle heading South. This gruesome accident included three other occupants of Mr. Rivera’s car. They were not wearing their seat belts either and were ejected as well but, thankfully, they did not lose their lives.
Similarly, a man who ran a stop sign on Sunday crashed with another car and was ejected from his car because hi was not wearing his seat belt. He subsequently died when his own vehicle landed on top of him. The duty to stop at a stop sign is clearly established by Florida Statute 316.123 (2) (a) and any driver failing to stop as prescribed there incurs in a non-criminal traffic violation.
In another crash, a Riviera Beach police officer and his passenger were both killed when the officer lost control of his vehicle and they were ejected from the car. Neither were buckled up.
Finally, according to the Florida Highway Patrol, a vehicle traveling southbound on Interstate 95 hit a disabled van parked on the shoulder of the road and the driver died because he was not wearing his seat belt.
Another good reason to buckle up is that Florida is a “comparative negligence” state. This means that in a car accident case the court will apportion liability between both parties. For example, if an occupant of a vehicle was not wearing his or her seat belt, and the jury decides that based upon the evidence they would not have sustained the injuries that they did had they been belted, than the jury may assign a percent of liability for the resulting injuries to that victim. Consequently, any resulting award that the victim will get reduced by that percentage.
We have the Necessary Experience
The lawyers of Greenberg Stone and Urbano have more than 100 years of combined experience helping victims injured in all types of car accidents recover the compensation they were owed and may be able to you too. Please go to our Notable Cases section to learn more about some of the car accident cases we have handled over more than thirty years.
We Can Help
The lawyers of Greenberg Stone and Urbano stand ready to help the victims of car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents or accidents involving any other kind of motor vehicle.
If you or a loved one have been injured as a result of a police pursuit, we urge you to contact a law firm experienced handling these matters. The Miami Dade County Car Accidents Lawyers of Greenberg, Stone & Urbano have handled many cases involving traffic fatalities, traumatic brain injuries and serious personal injuries.
Please visit our website and once ready, contact us at 305-595-2400 to schedule a free consultation.
Please note that we handle all personal injury matters, including car accident cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that you do not have to pay us anything, unless we win the case and obtain compensation for you.