Fatal Multi-Vehicle Crash in New Port Richey
NEW PORT RICHEY, FL — According to the Florida Highway Patrol, a fatal collision occurred Saturday Afternoon on Moon Lake Road involving three vehicles and killing a 19-year old girl.
A 2008 Hyundai Accent was being driven by 19-year old Jillian Faith Hitt, who was wearing her seatbelt, northbound on the road.
At the intersection of Oconee Boulevard, on the southbound lane, a GMC Sierra pickup truck was stopped there during that same moment that Hitt was driving northbound.
A 25-year old driver, Kerissa Ramson, was in the pickup truck with a one-year-old Madilyn Smith waiting for Hitt to go through the intersection so Ramson could make a left.
Another driver, 23-year old Raven Brooklyn Joliff, driving a Ford F-150 was southbound as well.
As indicated by the Florida Highway Patrol, the stopped pickup truck of Ramson was not spotted by the upcoming driver, Joliff.
It was reported that Jolliff attempted to swerve left to avoid hitting the pickup truck because she did not see it. As a result, the rear left of Ramson’s pickup truck was hit, and Joliff’s vehicle crossed into the northbound road, directly in the path of Hitt’s car.
Unfortunately, both vehicles collided head-on, resulting in the driver Joliff and 4-year old Anthoney Lippi, and the one-year-old baby in Ramson’s truck enduring minor injuries and being treated at Bayonet Point Hospital. Jillian Faith Hitt was killed and died at the hospital from her injuries.
According to the Florida Highway Patrol, charges are currently pending.
Head-On Crash Causes
While head-on crashes are scarce compared to other types of collisions, only representing 2% of all vehicle collisions, they are the deadliest and most dangerous of them all. Being in a head-on collision will most likely end in tragedy, just like the case mentioned above. While the full scope of the incident is still unknown, there tends to be a variety of reasons why head-on collisions occur, including:
Fatigue or tiredness from the driver: Sleep-deprived individuals may be working extended shifts could fall asleep at the wheel and swerve into another lane. When a drive is tired, they do not have the same reaction time as would someone who has rested.
The Use of a Mobile Device: This distraction has grown in popularity, and many accidents are due to this factor. With only a couple of seconds looking at this distraction, a vehicle can veer off into oncoming traffic or not see a car that has stopped in front of them.
Signs are traffic signals that are malfunctioning: Sometimes, there are traffic lights that are not working properly which may cause some drivers to proceed with caution. More than never, drivers tend not to know the rules of yielding and what they must do in these situations, causing them to turn right in front of each other. This could cause crashes in intersections which then results in oncoming traffic crashing head-on.
Senior citizen drivers: As one age, our reflexes become slower. The reaction time of an older person could be the result of them causing an accident or not being able to avoid one. In addition, they may be confused and end up driving on the wrong side of the road.
Intoxicated drivers: Drug and alcohol use are known to be the number one factor for head-on vehicle crashes. The ability to calculate distance and reaction time is significantly impaired.
Road conditions that are of poor quality: Debris on the road, dividers lines on the road that have faded, insufficient lighting, guardrails that have been destroyed, are just some of the many factors that can cause a head-on collision from poor road conditions.
The exact cause for this collision needs to be investigated thoroughly to determine the full extent of the liability and whether mitigation is applicable or not.
So, who pays the price? The victim, their families, and friends, but who will be responsible for this type of crash? Who is “liable”?
To determine liability in any form of collision, the “legal duty of care” is the basis of it all. In other words, it is the obligation that a driver has towards another drive on the road. The rules and laws of the road must be followed by every driver, and they have to take the safety of others into consideration. When they breach that duty, that is when they are coined with having been negligent. If they were careless, reckless, and endangered the life of another, they would be held liable. Now, trying to prove that a driver breached that duty and saying that they violated it are two entirely different concepts. The victim, in this case, the family of Jillian Faith Litt must have their burden of proof; they must show how Jolliff was the direct and proximate reason why the crash took place.
It all boils down to having sufficient evidence to come to the conclusion that it was more than likely the other drivers’ fault that caused the death of 19-year old Jillian Faith Hitt: preponderance of the evidence, the legal term. If that has been established, then the medical expenses, loss of wages, pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and other costs associated with this tragedy could be recovered. This case seems quite apparent: the head-on collision would not have happened had the swerving of the vehicle not taken place. Why the f150 vehicle was not seen beforehand by Jolliff is the real question? What was being done at that moment? But there is what is known as “mitigation.” This case may be of such occurrence.
What is Mitigation?
When the fault of a vehicle collision is not clear, and responsibility cannot be determined, such as the crash occurring outside of the control of the driver due to outside factors. The law softens when the accident is the cause of external circumstances, in legal terms, it mitigates. What that means is that the percentage of the contributing circumstance (outside factor) by the at-fault driver’s liability. Some examples of this include:
- Traffic signals that are faulty
Driver’s vision being obscured by bad weather (Could this have contributed to the accident because she claims she couldn’t see the pickup truck that was stopped?)
Yield signs or stop signs that have been damaged
Lane dividers that have been worn away; and
Also, the at-fault driver liability could be mitigated by the contribution of the other driver. The burden of the at-fault driver could mitigate if the other driver played a role in the collision as well. Some instances where that can occur include
- Consumption of alcohol
Cell phone use
Having broken headlights
Mitigate can lessen or it may increase depending upon the extent of the contribution to the head-on collision. This may affect the offer provided by insurance companies.
Statistics on Common Vehicle Crashes
- In 2016, the FHP reported that 18 lives were lost as a result of a driver swerving or trying to avoid a collision
In 2016, the FHP reported that there were 3,176 fatal collisions in Florida of a total of 395,785 motorist incidents
In 2016, there were 47,467 crashes involving 18 to 20-year old; 110 of them ending with fatalities, and 67,885 crashes involving 21 to 24-year-old; 216 of them ending with the loss of life
Fatal crashes and collisions, in general, are compromised of the youth more than they are of any other age group, a statistic that has been proven by the Florida Highway Patrol for the year 2016. In the case mentioned above, swerving and avoiding was the cause of this disastrous collision. While the case is still under investigation, one can assume that the driver who attempted to swerve may not have been paying attention to the road and may have been distracted by something else, such as a cellphone.
What an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney Can Do for You
The Law Firm of Percy Martinez is deeply saddened and send their sympathy for the family of the young Ms. Hitt. It was a tragedy that ended her life way too soon. The firm has lawyers that deal with these tragedies and comfort the victims’ families. They work extensively alongside the victim to ensure that liability falls on whoever was at-fault for the collision. While the loss of life is the most precious thing that cannot be repaid, receiving compensation to pay for the various damages that have been endured is just a fraction of what should occur. A studied personal injury attorney in Florida could be the answer you have been looking for.