Since 2010, the Eagle Ford Shale region of southern Texas has become one of the most actively drilled areas for oil and gas in the nation. Because of all the development in the region, traffic has increased considerably, and there is now a significant commercial trucking presence in the area. This has led to an increased number of accidents here, including this one that ultimately resulted in the tragic death of a retired police officer.
On March 26, 2014, at approximately 8:45 AM, 68-year-old Roger Miller was on his way home from a meeting. Traveling east on State Highway 97 in Wilson County, Texas in his black Honda Ridgeline truck, he was directly followed by another driver, a Mr. Miguel Ramirez, in a white Chevrolet Silverado.
On the other side of the highway, Robert Lazcano was driving his pickup. Behind him, Mr. James Kemp was driving a Peterbilt Tractor Trailer, which was owned and operated by Priscilla Kemp (doing business as J&J Transportation), west on State Highway 97.
According to evidence in the case, Mr. Lazcano apparently slowed his vehicle due to a dog being in the roadway. Mr. Kemp, following too closely to Mr. Lazcano’s Silverado, failed to realize his vehicle was slowing down. Violently rear-ending the truck in front of him, Mr. Kemp forced Lazcano into the eastbound lane, which caused him to strike Mr. Miller’s car head on. The impact to Mr. Miller’s vehicle caused him to spin around, skid into a ditch, and strike Mr. Ramirez’s vehicle in the rear drivers’ side area.
As a result of the collision, Mr. Miller sustained massive injuries and died at the scene. Lazcano sustained serious injuries including spine fractures. He was airlifted to University Hospital and underwent urgent spine surgery, spending 7 days in the ICU. Ramirez also sustained minor injuries.
Miller’s family members settled their lawsuit against the three defendants who allegedly contributed to his death: the driver of the vehicle that struck Miller, the driver of the semi truck pulling the flatbed, and the trucking company’s owner.
Miller’s widow and two daughters, represented by Crosley Law Firm, received a total settlement of $1,580,000. After 39% attorney fees and 2% of reimbursable case expenses, the client’s net amount was $964,576.
Crosley Law Firm pursued all possible avenues of compensation, including making a claim against Mr. Miller’s uninsured motorist coverage and receiving the policy limit of $50,000 from it; however, that claim could not be made until after the claims against the at-fault parties were first resolved. Despite this delay and the complexity of this claim, it only took a short amount of time for Crosley to manage this case. The accident occurred in late March, the lawsuit was on file by May, the initial investigation and witness depositions were completed in August, and the case was settled in October with payment allocated in December. In the legal industry where the average payout can take 18-24 months, this case was resolved remarkably quickly.
Crosley Law Firm continues to pursue vehicle collision cases to help seek justice for innocent victims and their families. Roger Miller was loved by his community and is sorely missed by his family, friends, and those whose lives he touched during his more than 30 years in the police departments of the city of San Antonio and the city of La Vernia. He also served on the La Vernia city council.
Case No. I4-05-0328-CVW; 218th Judicial District Court of Wilson County, Texas