Archive for October, 2010

Speed may factor in deadly car accident at Braes Bayou

One occupant of an SUV was killed and another hurt when the SUV crashed into a concrete embankment early this morning. The SUV apparently left the southbound lanes of Highway 288 shortly after 2:00am and crashed through a concrete barrier and a guardrail.  Investigators report that the SUV went airborne and flew over a backhoe and Braes Bayou before smashing into the concrete embankment. One man was killed on impact and the other was transported to hospital. Given the distance the vehicle traveled before impact it appears very clear speed was a factor in the crash, and police are still determining if alcohol was involved.  Click2Houston’s full story, including pictures, is here.

Smith & Hassler on the cover of AT&T’s 2010 Yellow Pages

2+ million copies of AT&T’s Yellow Pages are being delivered to Houston homes this week. On the cover is Smith & Hassler’s stick-on advertisement depicting the firm’s celebrity spokesman (and the hardest working man in Hollywood) William Shatner, a.k.a. Captain James Kirk, a.k.a. Denny Crain.  Smith and Hassler is proud of a 20-year history of representing injured Texans.

Man charged with felony racing in Katy car accident

James Brett Melton, aged 20, of Katy Texas, has been charged with felony racing in connection with a car accident authorities say he caused and that injured a bystander. The criminal complaint filed against Melson alleges that on Friday October 22nd he participated in a two vehicle race on Franz Road in Katy. Witnesses to the car accident have said that a dark colored Toyota Scion and a black Volkswagen Jetta engaged in the street race as they pulled away from an intersection. The Toyota then rear-ended a silver vehicle, causing the silver vehicle to flip over four times. Warren McFarland, driver of the silver car, was taken to a local hospital to be treated for his injuries which included a suspected fractured arm. Melton has been released from Harris County jail on $5,000 bail.

Can a driver be charged with DWI in a parking lot?

You may be surprised to learn that the answer to this question is: YES.

Texas Penal Code Sec. 49.04(a) sets out the elements of the criminal offense of Driving While Intoxicated and reads as follows:

(a) A person commits an offense if the person is intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle in a public place.

Under Texas law intoxicated means: (a) not having the normal use of mental or physical faculties by reason of the introduction of alcohol, a controlled substance, a drug, a dangerous drug, a combination of two or more of those substances, or any other substance in the body; or (b) having an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more.

So in the case of a privately owned parking lot that is accessible and used by the public, if a person is operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, that person can be charged with DWI.

Woman charged in death of pedestrian in US 59 car accident

33-year old Nydia Alipaz has been charged with hindering a police investigation and making a false police report in a car versus pedestrian accident at 8:40pm on Thursday October 21st. The accident happened on the U.S. 59 service road in southwest Houston. Police said the 21-year man that was killed, whose name has not been released, was running alongside a Mercedes car shouting at Alipaz prior to the deadly accident. has issued a report conflicting with the Houston Chronicle’s report which states Alipaz was NOT facing any charges for the incident.

Deaths of 4 infants prompt Graco to recall baby strollers

Graco’s official recall listings are here on the Graco web site

Graco is recalling approximately 2,000,000 of its strollers after receiving reports that a defect with the stroller may have caused the deaths of four infants. The strollers being recalled are older versions of the Graco Quattro Tour and MetroLite strollers and travel systems, all of which were made before 2007 and were distributed by Graco Children’s Products, Inc. of Atlanta.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission says that if babies are not properly strapped into the strollers the child can slip through the opening between the stroller tray and the seat bottom where they can become struck and be strangled. The strollers involved in the recall were made before a voluntary standard was introduced in 2008 addressing this issue. The strollers were sold nationwide between November 2000 and December 2007.

Accident victims likely face long wait times to see a doctor

A recently published Wall Street Journal article reports an experience common to almost all of us: long waits at the doctor’s office. This issue can be particularly problematic for people injured in accidents who often find themselves facing multiple appointments in the weeks and months following an injury. According to a health care consulting firm, the average wait to see a health-care provider is 22 minutes. More than 2.4 million patients attending more than 10,000 locations nationwide were surveyed. Of significance to accident victims orthopedists have the longest waits at 29 minutes. Dermatologists have the shortest waits at 20 minutes. The report noted that patient satisfaction dropped with each additional 5 minutes of wait time.

Patients can help themselves somewhat by asking for the first available appointment of the day or the first appointment after lunch, the times at which a doctor is least likely to be backed up.

Deadly crash follows minor fender bender in North Houston

At 2:00am this morning a two vehicle crash has left a person dead and another seriously injured according to Harris County Sheriff’s Office.  The driver of a grey Nissan Altima was involved in a minor fender bender at Aldine Mail Route and Henry, then afterward fled the scene on Aldine Mail. Later the Nissan collided with a Ford Explorer making a left turn. After the collision the Nissan left the roadway, entered a ditch and after colliding with a concrete culvert flipped over. The two passengers in the Nissan were thrown through the windshield: one of them died, the other was life-flighted. The driver of the Explorer was taken to hospital by ambulance and the driver of the Nissan fled on foot and has not yet been found.

Will my vehicle protect me in a car accident?

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has identified its 2010 Top Safety Picks. The Institute rates vehicles for crashworthiness, which is a measure of how well a vehicle protects the occupants in the event of a car crash.  Vehicles are rated good, acceptable, marginal or poor, based on performance in high speed front and side crash tests, a rollover test and also evaluations of seat and head restraints for protection against neck injuries in rear-end crashes. For a vehicle to be a 2010 Top Safety Pick it must earn a rating of good in all four of the Institute tests and must also have electronic stability control. You can view the institute’s list and check to see if your vehicle is a Top Pick by clicking here.

18-wheeler wreck near Galleria in Houston snarls traffic

Wednesday October 13: a big rig has overturned near the Houston Galleria causing all manner of traffic problems. The 18-wheeler, hauling a long piece of concrete, overturned on the ramp from I-10 to the 610 West Loop around midday. The 18-wheeler cab and at least one of the trailers it was hauling flipped over, spilling the load onto the roadway. The ramp is not expected to reopen until 8:00pm while officials clean up the accident scene. Fortunately no injuries were reported.