Ocean Springs police are investigating a fatal crash that caused the death of 17-year-old football star Daegan L. Stallworth and injured two of his friends. The crash happened about 9:15 pm on Sunday May 13, 2012. A witness said that Stallworth was driving nearly 60 mph when he hit a culvert head on and then struck a utility pole. The family is mourning the loss of a beloved son all because of the dangerous consequences of speeding.
Officially, police are not saying how fast the car was going when it hit the culvert and went airborne. The accident reconstruction aspect of the investigation is not yet complete. The wreck happened on Old CCC Camp, which is in between Ocean Springs Road and Riley Road. That section of pavement is very narrow, so much so that when a bus come that way, cars traveling in the opposite direction have to move off of the road or onto the side to make room for the bus to pass.
What is interesting about this accident is that Stallworth was wearing his seatbelt when he died, while the other two occupants were not wearing seatbelts and managed to survive the crash. The female passenger, Mindy Dean, was ejected from the car during the crash. She sustained a broken pelvis and a small hole in her lung. Her boyfriend, Chase Braddock, broke his arm, leg, and nose in the crash. There has been no mention of whether the two of them are expected to make a full recovery.
The hardest part about this kind of an accident is that there is no one to hold accountable. Stallworth, as the driver, bears the primary responsibility for the injuries to his classmates, however, he died as a result of his crash-related injuries. If Stallworth had a car insurance policy that covered injuries to passengers in the vehicle, Dean and Braddock might be entitled to have their bills paid out of those benefits. However, if Stallworth did not have such a policy, Dean and Braddock will likely be covering their medical expenses themselves.
It’s possible that Stallworth’s parents may be liable for negligent entrustment. Mississippi recognizes the doctrine of negligent entrustment and the current law states that:
“…one who supplies directly or to a third person a chattel for use of another whom the supplier knows or has reason to know to be likely because of his youth, inexperience, or otherwise, to use it in a manner involving unreasonable risk of physical harm to himself and others whom the supplier should expect to share in or be endangered by its use, is subject to liability for physical harm resulting from them.” Sligh v. First National Bank of Holmes County, 735 So.2d 963, 969 (Miss. 1999).
This means that if Stallworth’s parents gave him the car and they had reason to believe that he would be using in a way that would cause harm to himself or others, his parents could be liable.
Negligence, negligent entrustment, and other theories of personal injury liability are best understood when discussing them with a competent Mississippi personal injury attorney. If you have been injured and you have a personal injury claim, please contact the Mississippi auto accident lawyers at Kilpatrick & Philley at (601) 856-7800.
Source: “Police: speed a factor in fatal crash,” by Robin Fitzgerald, published at SunHerald.com.
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