Reckless driving is one of the many causes of car and truck accidents throughout Maryland and the United States as a whole. Call it what you will; road rage, street racing, driving while angry, or just plain aggressive driving, this kind of behavior on public roads is the main ingredient of a recipe that can only serve up injury and potential death.
As personal injury lawyers serving the residents of Frederick, Baltimore, Hagerstown and Washington, D.C., we represent the victims of automobile accidents from all across the state. Besides so-called minor injuries such as superficial cuts, abrasions and bruises, many victims of traffic accidents can suffer more serious and life-threatening injuries like closed head trauma, damage to internal organs and spinal cord injuries.
Sadly, some victims die from their injuries even after they have reached a hospital. These people usually did nothing more than be in the wrong place at the wrong time, and for that indiscretion they and their families pay the ultimate price. In such cases, a wrongful death claim against the negligent party is not out of the ordinary.
A little while ago, a Maryland teenager from Halethorpe, MD, was the subject of scrutiny when police indicated that the young man was allegedly racing with another vehicle along a southbound stretch of Ridge Rd in Anne Arundel County. According to police, 16-year-old Buck J. Benny ignored the pleas of his passengers to slow down during a Wednesday night drive home from Patapsco Valley State Park. The vehicle, a Plymouth Acclaim, was filled with a number of the teen’s friends and relatives, including a three-year-old toddler sitting on the lap of one occupant.
Police reports indicate that sometime during the racing episode, Benny lost control of the vehicle, which then left the roadway and crashed into a nearby tree; the force of the collision killing the toddler and injured a number of the other passengers.
Police investigators believe that the crash, which occurred near the Howard-Baltimore County line, was the direct result of speeding and reckless driving. At the time of the news article, county prosecutors were reviewing the facts in the case to decide whether or not to press charges against the teenage motorist.
Police stated that only two people were wearing seat belts at the time of the wreck. One of them, 18-year-old Britney Shiflett, had her safety belt affixed around herself and her young nephew, Joseph. Police believe that the infant may not have perished had he been strapped into a proper child safety seat. Maryland state law requires all children in that age range to be in approved safety seats. Furthermore, because the driver was under 18 years of age, the law requires that everyone in a motor vehicle (including the rear-seat passengers) have there seat belts securely attached.
According to police reports, the accident happened just after 8pm along the hilly road on the way to Ellicott City. Known locally as a stretch of roadway that sees frequent instances of joy-riding, Benny reportedly sped down the curvy sections of Ridge Road along the Patapsco River. Police said the teenager lost control of the vehicle from the deadly combination of speed, reckless driving and driver error.
After the crash, Benny was taken to Maryland Shock Trauma Center where he was initially admitted in critical condition. The only other person that was wearing a safety belt, 18-year-old front-seat passenger Gary Ellison was listed in serious condition at the same hospital.
Rear seat passengers, 18-year-old Britney Shiflett, 17-year-old Jamie Shiflett, survived the crash and were admitted to Shock Trauma in critical and serious condition, respectively. The young boy, Joseph, was sadly pronounced dead at St. Agnes Hospital following the fatal accident.
Police blame speed, reckless driving on crash that killed 3-year-old, BaltimoreSun.com, June 9, 2011