As a personal injury lawyer, I hear about devastating crashes every day. I speak to people who have suffered life-altering injuries or lost loved ones. No matter how many times I hear these stories, I am still affected emotionally by the human tragedy that results from these collisions, which are nearly always avoidable. I have learned to channel my sense of outrage and injustice into fighting to get my clients the best possible recovery in court, but no amount of money can undo the physical and emotional damage my clients have suffered.
There are some situations that trigger a deeper emotional response. As a lawyer I’ve learned to be objective and analytical in most situations, but as the parent of a 9-year-old boy, I am deeply affected when the injured person is a child. As a community it is our job to keep our children safe. When we fail in that responsibility it hurts us all.
My heart was broken earlier this week as I read about 11-year-old Isaiah Bermeo, and autistic 11-year old who was hit by a minivan on Highway 101 near Olympia on Sunday evening. Witnesses observed the impact and saw the minivan drive away without stopping to help. Bermeo was airlifted to Harborview, but sadly he died from his injuries on Wednesday morning.
On Monday police located the van involved in the crash, which had been abandoned about 7 miles from the crash site, and once the police released the name and photo of the van’s owner, Irven F. Jacobs, a 51-year-old Shelton resident turned himself in. He is being charged with hit and run injury or death, but regardless of what criminal or civil liability is imposed on Jacobs, it will never bring Isaiah back.
If you are a driver, please watch for pedestrians, especially children. And if you do cause a crash, please stop to help instead of fleeing the scene. Hit and run is a felony, and abandoning the scene causes even more anguish for the injured person and his or her family.
If you are a parent or caregiver, please keep a close eye on your young or disabled children and help keep them out of harm’s way. Teach them to avoid traffic and other dangerous situations.
Always maintain a high level of uninsured motorist coverage to protect yourself and your family if you are hit by an uninsured or hit and run driver.
And finally, if you or someone you love was killed or injured by a hit and run driver, please call an experienced personal injury lawyer to explore what compensation the law might provide for you and your family.
For more information on this crash check out the following articles: