A 21 year-old Kansas City man died in the early morning of Sunday, February 19 after a series of hit and run accidents. Two others suffered minor to severe injuries. According to police, Leon Grant was driving south on Grand Avenue when he made a U-turn near Pershing Road. He then tried to make a U-turn again, but turned in front of an oncoming SUV. The SUV collided with Grant’s vehicle, and Grant sped away, heading north on Grand Avenue. The driver of the SUV called 911 while pursuing Grant’s vehicle.
Grant then reportedly ran two red lights at East 19th Street and East 18th Street. While crossing East 18th Street, Grant’s car collided with a BMW going east. Grant’s car then hit a tow truck and spun into a parking lot. It also hit a building before it came to rest. A woman who said she is friends with the people in the BMW stopped and went to check on Grant. She reported that she found him in the passenger seat of his car, where “he took his last breath.” Grant was pronounced dead at the scene.
The driver of the BMW reportedly suffered serious injuries, while a passenger suffered minor injuries. The tow truck driver was not injured. News reports do not indicate if the SUV driver sustained any injuries. Police are investigating the accident, particularly whether alcohol or drugs were involved in any way. They said that this is the eighth fatal crash in Kansas City in 2012. The city had seen five fatal crashes by this time in 2011.
The ninth fatal crash occurred later the same day. Firefighters recovered the body of a man from a burning car Sunday morning. The man apparently veered off the road while heading east on 101st Terrace. The car struck a tree and burst into flames, and the man was unable to escape. Authorities are still attempting to identify him and determine a cause of both the crash and the fire.
Since the exact reasons for the two accidents remain unknown, the legal consequences are impossible to predict. If the investigation into the accident involving Grant finds that drugs or alcohol were involved, his estate could face claims for the injuries suffered by the other people involved. Drivers owe a duty of care to others on the road to drive in a safe manner and obey the law. Driving under the influence is generally considered a breach of that duty in and of itself. Driving erratically and violating other traffic laws, such as running red lights, can also constitute a breach of a driver’s duty for the purpose of claiming negligence. Claims against an estate can be difficult, but they are not uncommon.
In the case of the car fire, it appears to be a single-car accident. The biggest questions are why the car caught fire and why the driver could not get out. If an investigation finds that some defective condition of the vehicle caused or contributed to the accident, then the man’s estate could have a claim under a products liability theory. Many more facts would have to come to light before a claim like that would be possible, though.
Kansas City auto accident attorney Doug Horn advocates safe driving and represents the rights of people who have suffered injuries in auto accidents. For a free and confidential consultation, contact the firm today online or at (816) 795-7500.