July 30, 2018
In February 2016, 14-year-old Jonathan Hernandez attended a family memorial for his 18-year-old sister, who had recently passed away due to illness. Tragically, it also was the last time that Hernandez’s mother would see Jonathan alive.
Following the memorial service, Jonathan was riding his bike to a friend’s house for emotional comfort when, shortly after midnight, he was struck by a tow truck being driven by Herman Martin Henderson. Rather than stop to help the injured boy—whose family the driver knew—Henderson fled the scene, washing Jonathan’s blood from his vehicle in an effort to conceal evidence of the crash.
Jonathan Hernandez, it was later determined, had died on impact.
Over two years later, Jonathan’s family finally received some form of justice when, on Friday, July 20, 2018, a judge at Ventura County Superior Court sentenced the tow-truck driver to two years in prison, in addition to 30 days to be served concurrently for the attempted destruction of evidence.
Hernandez’s family also has brought a civil law suit seeking damages from the driver Henderson, his tow-truck company Double R Towing, as well as the city and county of Ventura, California. The civil proceedings are ongoing.
The driver Henderson claims to have been the subject of death threats from the community, and he further alleged through his attorney that unknown individuals have sought to sabotage his business by putting sugar into the gas tanks of his company’s tow trucks.
While Henderson’s lawyer had urged the court to lower the criminal conviction from a felony to a misdemeanor, the judge denied that request, citing Henderson’s efforts to conceal evidence of the fatal crash. Henderson’s legal counsel argued that those actions were in anticipation of an upcoming vehicle inspection, but the judge saw through what he saw as a flimsy excuse, pointing to what the judge interpreted as Henderson’s efforts to mislead investigators.
“I don’t find this to be a close call whatsoever [as to whether the conduct constituted a felony or misdemeanor],” the judge said, according to the Ventura County Star. “In my mind, this is felony behavior all the way.”
If you or a loved one ever is injured in a motor vehicle accident, contact the experienced team of attorneys at AdamsFietz.com right away for a free legal consultation with an actual attorney!
Ventura County Star
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March 2, 2018
On July 7, 2014, brothers Matthew and Michael Lennig were cruising in their pickup truck along California’s Route 14 heading for outdoor fun in Mammoth, ATVs in tow. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a CRST Inc. commercial truck traveling in the opposite direction veered across the center dividing line and into their lane. Boxed in by a construction wall running along the right side of the highway, the brothers were unable to swerve to avoid the oncoming big rig, and the commercial truck struck them on the driver’s side.
The driver, Matthew, the younger brother, was hospitalized for weeks following the accident, recovering from fractured ribs and requiring numerous serious procedures on his left arm. His brother Michael was relatively more fortunate, but still suffered spinal compression fractions that required surgery. In addition to their physical wounds, which will cause lasting physical pain and impairment, the brothers also suffer from severe psychological trauma, according to their lawyer.
Well over three years later, the Lenning brothers finally received some measure of justice when, on February 22, a California jury awarded them a total of $53 million in damages, which CRST is liable to pay.
“We are glad the jury understood the magnitude of the physical and emotional injuries our clients suffered. Not only [did] they suffer significant physical injuries, but the emotional injuries were catastrophic and life-altering,” said Brian Panish, attorney for the plaintiffs, according to Law360.
Though it was not even towing a trailer at the time of the accident, according to Panish, the CRST trailer alone weighed in at approximately 18 tons, giving the Lennig brothers little chance in their 3-ton pickup. Panish further argued that the driver of the CRST trailer had veered into oncoming traffic to prevent a vehicle behind him from passing, making the act that caused the accident an intentional one.
“[The driver of the CRST trailer] was angry with the vehicle that was trying to pass him,” Panish told the jury during his opening statement. “He was angry and upset, and what drove right into—intentionally driving a 36,000-pound vehicle into oncoming one-lane traffic.”
Have you or a loved one been injured in a commercial trucking accident or other vehicular accident? If so, the expert attorneys at TheLawFirm.com are standing by now for a free consultation. The law places strict deadlines on the filing of claims, so don’t delay, call today! Get Help Now!
Sonoma County Attorney Jeremy Fietz has recovered over $10,000,000.00 for his motor vehicle accident clients