Drunk Driver Indirectly Kills Local Cyclist

An intoxicated motorist caused a fatal collision which killed a nearby bicyclist.

Lake Charles police state that the crash occurred near the intersection of Alamo and Kirkman. Jaylin Jack ignored a red light while northbound on Kirkman, and smashed his Chevrolet Impala into a Hyundai Accent that was westbound on Alamo. Mr. Jack’s vehicle then spun around and hit Shawn Allison as he was pedaling past the scene. First responders rushed Mr. Allison to a nearby hospital, where he was later declared dead. Authorities arrested Mr. Jack and charged him with DUI and failure to yield.

Investigators say that the charges may be upgraded later.

Fatal Collisions and Bicycles

After being relatively flat for several decades, the number of bicycle fatalities rocketed up 12.2 percent in 2015. Furthermore, if preliminary 2016 numbers hold up, there will be another double-digit increase this year.

To explain the spike,, observers point out that there are over a million more pedestrians and cyclists today than there were ten years ago. But that is only part of the story, because the real reason may be city planning and structural engineering. The Government Accounting Office says that most cities have streets with wide lanes and few curves in order to “move motor vehicles. . .as expeditiously as possible.” Such movement comes at the expense of pedestrian and cyclist safety, because the wide lanes leave little room for non-motorists and the straight roads increase speeds.

Even though many cities have earmarked millions for safety improvements and have set goals to reduce the number of fatal collisions, change may be slow in coming. Bike lanes with dividers cost about $4 million a mile, and wider sidewalks cost up to $8 million a mile.

Liability in Car Crash Cases

Alcohol is a factor in about a third of the fatal collisions in Louisiana, because impairment begins at one drink in most cases, with symptoms like slower reaction time, impaired judgement, and loss of motor skills. Due to the low standard of proof, evidence that the tortfeasor (negligent driver) had been drinking is normally enough for a jury to conclude that the tortfeasor was impaired.

Damages in these fatal collision cases normally include compensation for both economic losses, such as property damage, and noneconomic losses, including pain and suffering. Additional punitive damages are also allowed by statute in alcohol-involved crashes. For the jury to award punitive damages, there must be clear and convincing evidence that the tortfeasor consciously disregarded the rights of others, and a high BAC level normally satisfies this requirement.

Victims in fatal collisions are often entitled to significant compensation. For a free consultation with Lee Hoffoss or another experienced Lake Charles personal injury attorney, contact Attorney Lee Hoffoss at Hoffoss Devall. We normally do not charge upfront legal fees in negligence cases.