Archive for November, 2011

Houston police looking for victims of ex-YMCA employee Christopher Hilton

32-year old Christopher Hilton, formerly an employee of the Harriet & Joe Foster YMCA on West 34th Street in Houston, is currently charged with promoting child pornography. He was arrested November 17, 2011 when, authorities say, he was caught downloading child pornography to his home computer. Hilton is currently in Harris County jail.  Authorities are now asking for the public’s help in identifying potential child abuse victims of Hilton. On November 18 YMCA Director Landrum Turner sent YMCA members a letter regarding Christopher Hilton’s arrest stating a background check was performed on Hilton before he was hired, yielding no prior arrests. The letter also stated that, as a front desk worker, Hilton had no direct responsibility for working with children at the YMCA.

Mr. Turner sent a second letter to YMCA members on November 30, 2011 providing an update on the criminal investigation against Hilton, stating that the Houston Police Department’s Juvenile Sex Crimes Unit sought the public’s help in identifying potential victims and that “Hilton’s past employment history indicates that he had access to children. Information was obtained during the investigation that Hilton may have molested several children.”

Anyone with information about Christopher Ian Hilton or potential victims should contact the HPD Juvenile Division at 713 731 5335. Channel 11’s report regarding the continuing investigation of Hilton can be read here. Christopher Hilton’s Facebook page is apparently still online. Hilton’s employment prior to being hired by the YMCA included working at a private school.

Christopher Ian Hilton has been charged with three counts of promoting child pornography. HPD wants the public's help in identifying victims.

Four year old pedestrian hit in crosswalk near MLK Early Childhood Center

Channel 2 is reporting an automobile versus pedestrian collision in southeast Houston today. A four-year old boy was struck by an automobile while on a crosswalk. The boy was crossing in the 3930 block of West Fuqua near White Heather to reach the MLK Early Childhood Center when the accident happened at around 7:30am. The boy was transported to hospital with reportedly non life threatening injuries and the accident is being investigated by authorities.

Even at low speeds, a pedestrian versus vehicle collision is no contest and the pedestrian always fares worst. Auto-pedestrian accidents often result in serious injuries such as road rash, broken bonesspinal cord injuries, internal injuries and traumatic brain injuries. If you, a friend or a family member have been involved in a pedestrian accident, remember to document any obvious signs of trauma such as cuts and bruises by taking good quality, well-lit photographs. Keep any damaged clothing. You can contact the experienced Houston personal injury attorneys at Smith & Hassler for a free consultation: over our 20-year history Smith & Hassler has successfully handled hundreds of auto-pedestrian accidents for injured clients.

Teenage pickup driver killed in 18-wheeler collision near Katy Mills Mall

Tragedy has come to two Houston area families when one teenage driver is killed and another injured in a collision between an 18-wheeler hauling gravel and a pickup truck. The collision happened on Katy Mills Boulevard on Tuesday November 29, 2011 at around 3:30pm. The 18-wheeler was heading east on the feeder road and the pickup truck was southbound on Katy Mills Boulevard when one of the drivers ran a red light: during the impact both teenage boys were ejected from the pickup truck. The 18-wheeler flipped onto its side and landed on one of the teenagers, killing him instantly. This poor young man’s name has not yet been released. Police were interviewing both drivers to see what happened; a television news reports indicated that both drivers said they had the green light. The driver of the pickup truck and the driver of the 18-wheeler were taken to hospital and were in stable condition. A blood sample will be taken from the 18-wheeler driver to rule out alcohol or drug involvement. The intersection was blocked for a considerable amount of time as emergency services responded, which included cleaning up the load of gravel spilled from the overturned 18-wheeler. Channel 2’s report on the big rig collision is here.

Losing a young family member is a terrible tragedy for any family. It will be particularly hard for the deceased young man’s family with Christmas less than a month away.

Video of speeding Corvettes in The Woodlands shows danger of street racing

A cell phone video of two Corvettes speeding in The Woodlands on Thanksgiving Day has gone viral and may lead to the drivers involved being charged with a crime. The video shows two light-colored Corvettes line up at a red light at the intersection of Woodlands Parkway and Terramont Drive during the day time, and when the light changes they race away. One Corvette is a late model sixth generation, the other a fifth generation model. Gerod Rush was running a Thanksgiving errand when he got in behind the Corvettes at the traffic light and realized something was about to happen, so he started recording the video with his cell phone. Rush said the Corvettes had been racing for a mile previous to the crash incident. Just before the light turned green a father and son can be seen crossing the busy intersection. Shortly after accelerating from the light the driver of the C5 Corvette loses control, swerves into the lane to his left and crashes into the passenger side of the C6 Corvette. While the offense of street racing can be difficult to prove, the video certainly is worth a thousand words. If either Corvette driver is hurt they could face Class B misdemeanors or felony offenses.

WATCH THE VIDEO: Corvette drivers crash in The Woodlands, TX on Thanksgiving Day

Devyn Peacock killed in collision with car in Santa Fe on FM646

Channel 11 News is reporting a fatal motorcycle accident in Santa Fe, Texas on FM646 near Fourth Street. Dickinson man Devyn Peacock, 19, and a friend were riding motorbikes on FM646 when the driver of a Toyota car tried to make a left turn from Fourth Street onto FM646. Devyn’s motorcycle and the other bike broadsided the car. Devyn was pronounced dead at the scene and the 19-year old man riding the second motorcycle was taken to UTMB John Sealy Hospital. The 23-year old driving the car was not injured. According to a Galveston County Daily News article, the preliminary law enforcement investigation was that the driver of the Toyota misjudged the speed and distance of the motorcycles when he began his left turn. Devyn’s large group of friends have been leaving condolence messages on his Facebook page.

Honda Accord driver dies in West Houston collision at Highway 6 and Pine Forest

A deadly collision is being reported the morning of Sunday November 20th in West Houston at the intersection of Highway 6 and Pine Forest. A Chevy Monte Carlo was heading southbound on Highway 6 at around 7:30am when the Monte Carlo collided with a Honda Accord turning from Pine Forest. The Monte Carlo then slid into oncoming traffic where it crashed into a Nissan Sentra. The Monte Carlo caught fire, however quick thinking workers at a nearby golf course ran to the scene and put out the fire with extinguishers. A man who was driving the Honda Accord was killed instantly. The driver and passenger of the Monte Carlo and the driver and passenger of the Sentra were both transported to hospital to be treated. Police think one of the cars ignored a red light and they are trying to figure out which car was at fault. The Chronicle’s report is available here and states the driver of the Monte Carlo passed away at the hospital.

Unsure of how to handle an insurance claim for personal injuries you have suffered in a car accident?  Don’t rely on the insurance adjuster handling your claim for advice…they have a conflict of interest! The less adjusters pay on injury claims, the more profitable their company remains. Insurance adjusters want to settle automobile accident injury claims as quickly as possible so they can cut-off the insurance company’s liability for additional medical bills and close their file.  Since Smith & Hassler was founded in 1989 by Michael Smith and Al Hassler, this law firm has practiced exclusively in the area of personal injury and has handled thousands of car accident injury cases.  Call Smith & Hassler for a free consultation AS SOON AS YOU CAN AFTER YOUR CAR ACCIDENT—get advice from someone with your best interests at heart.  There is no charge for an initial consultation with one of our personal injury attorneys.

Judgment expected today against drunk driver who killed 13-year old Nicole Lalime

A judgment is expected in a multi million dollar lawsuit filed by the parents of 13-year old Nicole Lalime, killed by drunk hit-and-run driver John Winne.  The case is pending in the 189th District Court, Harris County. On December 16, 2008 Nicole walked off her school bus and was struck and killed in front of her home and classmates on the school bus. Winne got out of the wrecked white Lexus he was driving and fled: police found him hiding behind a home. John Winne was sentenced to 30 years in prison and is potentially looking at a multi-million dollar civil judgment against him. Nicole’s parents have little to no expectation of ever collecting the full judgment from Winne, but are pursuing the lawsuit to send a message to drunk drivers who often do not face jail time. Nicole’s friends have remained in close contact with Nicole’s parents, texting them almost daily and occasionally staying over at the Lalime’s house.

Nicole’s mother and father are courageous souls to re-live Nicole’s tragic death in order to send this important message in a county that leads the nation in drunk driving fatalities.

Two HPD officers hospitalized after police car struck by SUV driver on Ambien

Two HPD officers were transported to hospital after their police cruiser was struck by an SUV at the intersection of Bay Area Boulevard and Space Center Boulevard around 11:30pm. Channel 2 is reporting that the driver of the SUV was a 37-year old woman who was under the influence of the prescription sleep aid medication Ambien. A field sobriety test conducted at the scene confirmed the woman was impaired and she was arrested and charged with driving under the influence. The officers were transported to Clear Lake Regional and, thankfully, are expected to be able to return to work today.

This HPD police cruiser sustained heavy damage when it was t-boned at 11:30pm on Wednesday November 16, 2011 by a female SUV driver impaired by the sleep aid Ambien.

Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) car accidents seem to happen every single night in the Houston area and throughout Harris County.  Sadly Harris County Texas ranks among the highest counties in the nation for drunk driving fatalities and drunk driving accident injuries year after year.  Drunk driving car accidents often create even more complications for the victim than a regular car accident: insurance companies usually won’t pay a claim or provide a rental car until they speak to their insured driver and get their version of what happened. The insurance company can’t do that if their insured was charged with DWI and is in jail. Call Smith & Hassler if you have been injured by a drunk driver’s gross negligence and ask for speak to one of our personal injury attorneys right now.  Smith & Hassler aggressively pursues claims against drunk drivers.

Edna Dyson passes away after South Houston pit bull attack

Sadly Channel 2 News is reporting that 71-year old Edna Dyson has passed away from injuries sustained in a pit bull attack in South Houston last week. Edna went to tend to the yard of a rental property she owns on Swiss Lane in South Houston when the neighbor’s dogs slipped through a hole in the fence and attacked Edna. Edna was able to crawl to her car and climb inside where she waited for help. Investigators say poor Edna lost consciousness and was in her car for at least two hours before a neighbor found her and called 911. Both of the pit bulls were euthanized last week.

Four Galveston students injured when car rear ends school bus

Four Galveston students and an adult driver of a car received reportedly minor injuries when a car crashed into a school bus. The motorist swerved into the lane of the school bus on Tuesday November 15, striking the rear of the bus. Four students from the Early Childhood University and Weis Middle School along with the car’s driver were taken to John Sealy Hospital. The driver was not cited with any traffic violations, but is probably legally responsible for not controlling the speed of his vehicle and rear-ending the school bus.