Archive for July, 2010

83-year old Texas woman attacked by pit bull dogs

An 83-year old lady in Tyler, Texas is recovering after being bitten by a pit bull mix dog that authorities say may have been used in illegal dog fighting. Glynda Hulsey and her two dogs were walking to the mailbox when she was attacked.  Fortunately she was able to make it back to her house.  The pit bull followed her where it was shot by her husband. ABC Channel 13’s report is here.

2 killed in car accident on Eastex Freeway in Houston

Friday July 30, 2010: At around 4:30am the driver of a Ford Explorer apparently lost control of the vehicle before crashing into a guardrail and then hitting a pole. Matthew Gomez and Nancy Martinez died at the scene. Harris County Sheriff’s deputies investigated the scene, resulting in several lanes being closed, but lanes were reopened by 6:00am. The crash happened in the northbound lanes of the Eastex Freeway near Mount Houston Road.

Houston Fire Department Truck in wreck on Westheimer

Thursday July 29, 2010: in the 5700 block of Westheimer at approximately 8:45am  Houston Fire Department truck was involved in a wreck.  A fire captain and civilian were transported to Memorial Hermann in the medical center to be treated for their injuries.  The engine operates out of Fire Station 28, which is near the location of the wreck.  It is unknown at this time if the fire engine was en route to an emergency call.  The Houston Chronicle’s report is here.

In March 30, 2009 two City of Houston fire trucks were involved in an intersection collision that resulted in the tragic death of Leigh Boone, a cyclist who sustained head injuries.  In January 2010 the Houston City Council approved a $225,000 settlement to be paid to Ms. Boone’s family. Texas law meant that the maximum Ms. Boone’s family could have received was $250,000.  Tort reform capped the amount of damages that can be recovered from governmental entities by injured persons.  The collision involving Ms. Boone also involved a fire truck traveling on Westheimer.

Train v 18-wheeler accident results in fatality

Wednesday July 28, 2010: Dayton, Liberty County, Texas.  The driver of an 18-wheeler was killed in a collision with a train in Dayton. The big rig and the Union Pacific train collided near the intersection of FM686 and CR622 at approximately 6:54pm. The 18-wheeler caught fire and burned after the tractor was severed from the trailer and pushed down the tracks. The train engineer was not injured. The 18-wheeler was being used to transport railroad ties. Read the Click2Houston story here.

Hit-and-run collision kills pedestrian on Gessner in Houston

Tuesday July 27th, 2010: The Houston Chronicle is reporting that a pedestrian crossing in the 5000 block of Gessner near Genard was struck and killed in a hit-and-run collision at about 9:00pm.  The pedestrian was using a walker. The vehicle was traveling northbound at the time of the collision and the pedestrian was apparently not in a crosswalk. The area is dimly lit and the man was known to travel slowly while using his walker, police said.

2 pedestrian hit and killed on Houston freeways

Two pedestrians were killed in Houston over the weekend in separate incidents involving people attempting to cross freeways on foot. Police report that a 22-year old man was struck multiple times by vehicles as he tried to cross the 7700 Gulf Freeway at about 2:40am on Saturday. The man died and the scene and his name has not been released. A 30-year old man was killed while crossing the 10700 Northwest Freeway at 5:15am Saturday when he was hit by the driver of a Ford E-150 van. The driver stopped and remained at the scene. Read Click2Houston’s report here.

Oil spill legal battle may be costliest ever

Legal experts and attorneys nationwide are predicting that the legal battle between BP, Transocean, Cameron International, Halliburton Co. and the thousands of victims of the spill in the Gulf may be the costliest ever of its kind. So far about 300 federal lawsuits have been filed in 12 states against BP and the three other main companies involved in the April 20 explosion on board the Deepwater Horizon rig. BP leased the rig, Transocean owned it, Cameron built the failed blowout preventer and Halliburton was the well contractor.

Plaintiffs in the lawsuits are a diverse range of businesses and individuals along the Gulf Coast: shrimp boat captains, oystermen, charter boat operators, restaurants, bars, taxi cab operators, seafood suppliers, bait and tackle shops, hotel and condo owners and others.  A few wrongful death and injury lawsuits have been filed by surviving workers and some family members of the 11 men who perished.

BP’s liability is already larger than the Exxon Valdez case, which ultimately led to a $500 million payout to affected fishermen and other residents.  The BP case will differ in important ways from other mass tort lawsuits such as Vioxx or asbestos where people died or suffered illness as a direct result of the product.  While it may be relatively straightforward for an oysterman whose oyster beds were choked with oil to prove his losses, how do you prove losses for a beach front hotel owner whose business dropped off, or a property owner selling a beach house whose property is now worth less?

Read the Houston Chronicle story on the anticipated cost and problems of the legal battle against BP here.

Deepwater Horizon rig safety alarm “set to snooze”

Friday July 23, 2010: Transocean Chief Engineer technician Mike Williams told a Marine Board panel that a computer monitoring fire, gas and toxic fume sensors was working at the time of the rig explosion, however the alarm had been “inhibited.”  The ultimate effect of setting the alarm this way was to cause the sensors to send information to the computer, but for the computer to NOT trigger an alarm. Williams also testified that inhibiting the system this way prevents the computer from activating emergency shut down systems designed to stop or minimize damage. Williams said the reason this decision was made is because the rig’s supervisors did not want people woken at 3:00am by false alarms.

Read’s report on the story here

Read the Houston Chronicle’s report on the story here

Constable hurt in Hwy 249 accident in Tomball

Early morning Wednesday July 21, 2010 a reserve deputy constable was injured when he collided with a vehicle that had rolled over on state Highway 249 near Boudreaux Road.  The accident happened at around 4:30am.  The officer was in uniform at the time of the crash however he was not on duty.  The officer suffered multiple fractures and was life flighted to Memorial Hermann Hospital.  The cause of the crash is under investigation and Click2Houston’s story is here.