Cagle Law Firm
Attorney Zane Cagle

Posted on February 18th, 2014,
by Zane Cagle

Man Killed Near Parkville, Missouri by Possible Drunk Driver

Posted on February 18th, 2014 by Zane Cagle

Last Monday night  on 152 Highway, near Parkville, Missouri, a grandfather was parked along side 152 Highway where he was helping his 17-year old grandson whose car had stalled.  Police say a 29-year-old man, driving a GMC Yukon, left the roadway and struck the grandfather’s Chevy Malibu. At the time of the crash, the man and his grandson were inside the Malibu.  Donald Rippy, the grandfather was transported to Kansas City Hospital where he later died shortly before midnight. The grandson’s injuries were not listed in the article.

The 29-year old man who struck Rippy’s Malibu was not injured in the crash and was arrested at the scene. Police stated they believed he may have been drunk at the time of the crash.

This story is tragic for several reasons. A death or serious injury is always tragic, but the circumstances surrounding the accident are even worse because this accident could have been avoided.  Two things that created dangerous situations are the stalled car on the side of the road and the driver who was allegedly drunk.

What To Do When Your Car Stalls on a Busy Highway?

Hey, sometime cars stall and we can never control where that will happen. Unfortunately, I have seen some of the worst fatalities and injuries due to crashes to cars that were stranded on the side of the highway.  Not parked in the highway, but stranded on the side.  Just last month, I blogged about the tragic death of a Wheeling, Illinois toll road worker who was killed and an Illinois Trooper who was seriously injured when a semi-truck crashed into them as they were assisting a stranded semi-truck on Interstate 88 in Illinois.  Interstate 70 is another classic highway that sees more than it’s share of these similar kinds of tragedies.  In Illinois, the trooper had his emergency lights on as well as directional arrows warning traffic of the stalled semi-truck when another semi-truck driver plowed into the assistance vehicles killing one and injuring another. In that incident, authorities are alleging that the semi-truck driver who plowed into them had been driving for more than 30 hours straight.

In this Parkville, Missouri accident, a 64 year old man was trying to help his 17 year-old grandson with his stranded car when a driver hit the back of the grandfather’s car. Sometimes cars strand,  if that happens on a busy highway, what can you do?

  • Get your car as far off the road and onto the shoulder as possible
  • Get out of your car and move away from it, and call 911
  • Wait for help as in a assistance from an emergency roadside service or a law enforcement so they can put up flashers and warning lights

This advice is easy to say and no, it doesn’t always help–consider the example of the Illinois trooper accident just mentioned.  Even when everything is done correctly and the operator of the stranded vehicle does all of the right and safe things, it is hard to allow for drivers over their driving limit (hours of service) and for drunk drivers.

Tragic and Maybe Preventable

While a car accident can happen in a few seconds, there are usually many factors and choices that lead up to the crash.  In the Illinois semi-truck crash, the semi-truck driver chose to drive an alleged 30-plus hours making him a very fatigued driver and less likely to observe signs, even flashing signs.  If the 29-year-old driver in the Parkville, Missouri crash was drunk, he may or may not have seen the flashing hazards of the 64-year old man’s Malibu.  In fact, there may not have been flashers, but if the other driver was drunk, it may have made little difference depending on his level of awareness.  The accident occurred around 10 pm and it was dark.  The choices made in both of these accidents were possibly choices made long before the actual crashes and seemingly, both could have possibly been avoided.  The truck driver chose to drive to long and became fatigued and the 29-year old man chose to get behind the wheel after drinking.  In both situations, lives were lost needlessly.

The Impact of Choices

We all make choices and we don’t always think about the consequences of our choices. At The Cagle Law Firm, we believe in the power of choices. Living with the consequences of our choices is not always easy. To say that living with the consequence of a choice of taking another’s life is “difficult” would be an understatement.  Just as the family of both of these men killed mentioned in my blogs will never be able to replace what was lost in a loved one, the drivers in both crashes will have to live with the consequence of what their choices meant for other people. The alleged drunk driver’s life will never be the same. And the semi-truck driver has already permanently lost his license and faces many felony charges.

Highways and interstates are dangerous places under the safest of circumstances. Cars and semi-trucks traveling at high rates of speed and at night when visibility is low is perilous.  If you car is stranded on the side of the road, get away from it.  Safety experts, not just myself, recommend that you get out of your car and move a safe distance from it. A semi-truck hitting your passenger car going 70 mph or faster will literally drive-through your car and you do not want to be in it when that happens.  Unfortunately, we cannot control other people’s choices when it comes to being responsible drivers, but we can control our choices.  In reality, each one of us has to live with our choices, so make good ones when it comes to driving and do not drive when you are fatigued or under the influence.

When accidents happened, what do you do?

You’ve been in a car accident or a truck accident, and you were injured, taken to the hospital and now you are trying to figure out your next steps.  You do not have to do that alone. Our attorneys represent victims of serious motor vehicle accidents and we know the next steps and will walk you through that process. We work diligently to find all factors contributing to the crash and we work to get the compensation you are going to need for medical bills, lost wages and other damages.  The negotiating process with an insurance company can be time intensive and that is time that you need to be focused on recovering. Our attorneys are available seven days a week, toll free (314) 276-1681 or locally (314) 276-1681

 

Source: Grandfather Killed by Crash on 152 Highway Identified. Fox2kc.com 2/11/14