Thursday, October 25, 2012

So many things...

Two weeks ago there was an article in the newspaper that my mom read and then told me about. She gave me the highlights and thought "That poor family".  It obviously still has me scratching my head and asking WTF? My mom has changed her view of things too...

Without adding anything further- 
**Edited to add the full article below including a link**

Feel free to comment as you will.  Makes you wonder about people sometimes huh?

For the record- I travel this road twice daily in my commute and often on the weekends as well.  Although the posted speed limit is 50mph, people average 65-70mph.  Also as a friend of mine familiar with the area said- this is a long, flat, straight stretch of road. No trees, no hills, no dips, no curves. 

This is the article as found on from October 10, 2012.

$165 million lawsuit pending in crash that paralyzed Gilbert boy

Host of defendants in Ironwood Drive accident

9 comments by Luci Scott - Oct. 10, 2012 10:10 AM
The Republic |
Who is at fault? That's the big question lingering from a horrific car crash that left a 9-year-old Gilbert boy paralyzed from the neck down.
The boy's father, Brandon Ackert Sr. of Gilbert, is preparing to sue for $165 million over the accident, and the defendants include a number of Southeast Valley and other government entities.
On March 27, Lisa Ackert, a 911 operator for Phoenix and the boy's mother, was northbound on Ironwood Drive, a busy four-lane highway, about 2 miles north of Germann Road.
Ahead of her, a Dodge Ram pickup pulling a horse trailer had slowed or stopped in the fast lane to turn left across the dirt median. The pickup's driver, Joseph Curtis Kimball, was headed for a road that leads to a corral and open desert.
Lisa Ackert's Chevy Malibu struck the rear of the horse trailer.
She was injured, as were her sons Brandon Jr., 7, who was in the backseat and wearing his seat belt, and Andrew, then 9, who was in the front seat and not wearing a seat belt, according to a notice of claim filed by Brandon Sr. and his sons. A notice of claim is a precursor to a lawsuit.
Andrew, who used to love playing sports, is now 10 and was left a quadriplegic who needs a ventilator to breathe.
The notice of claim says the accident was caused by "negligent design and maintenance" of Ironwood Drive.
The median contains shrubs and brush, and it is filled with gravel and dirt to allow motorists to cross. The northbound and southbound lanes closest to the median are marked with a solid yellow line on the left, a symbol indicating motorists should not cross.
It's unclear which town the accident occurred in and which governmental agency is responsible for Ironwood's design and maintenance, so the notice was sent to the state, Pinal and Maricopa counties, the towns of Apache Junction and Queen Creek and the unincorporated area of San Tan Valley.
"Determining who is responsible for Ironwood Drive through this area has been a wild goose chase," attorney Robert K. Lewis said in a news release. "Poor road design has left this highway in such an ultra-hazardous condition that people stop in the high-speed lane to turn left across an unimproved median. No one will take responsibility."
Ironwood Drive crosses through Maricopa and Pinal counties, Apache Junction, Queen Creek and the unincorporated community of San Tan Valley. The highway borders property maintained by the state Land Department, Arizona Game and Fish Department and the state Department of Transportation. The governmental agencies are collectively referred to in the notice as the "public entities."
"It is clear that the public entities either filled in the dirt median permitting motor vehicles to cross in a dangerous fashion or permitted a third party to fill in the median," the notice says. "Either way, the public entities are liable for causing this accident."

The notice says Ironwood Drive was not designed within generally accepted engineering standards and "does not provide adequate warning of a dangerous condition."
Attorney Lewis' law firm, representing Brandon Ackert Sr. and his sons, has repeatedly asked for a police report, but the lawyer said it has not been released by the Pinal County Sheriff's Office, which, according to the notice of claim, has said that the Pinal County Attorney's Office is looking at the report.

The Sheriff's Office told The Republic the report is not available because the accident is still under active investigation.
Since the accident, Andrew's medical bills have totaled more than $2 million, and the notice says his medical bills will likely amount to $1.4 million a year. The notice asks for a settlement of $159 million for Andrew.

Brandon Ackert Sr., a telecommunications sales representative, said the accident "deprived Brandon of the love, companionship, comfort, society and affection of Andrew Ackert," the notice says.
"Brandon can no longer play sports with his son, go to games or even run or walk with his son. Brandon will be by his son's bedside for the rest of his life, but the quality of their relationship and the ability to share and live life together was taken away from him," the claim adds.

"Although Mr. Kimball and Ms. Ackert share some liability for causing the accident, the public entities bear the brunt of the liability," the notice says, charging the highway's design allows motorists to violate state law by permitting them to cross a dirt median and two solid yellow lines.
There is a left-hand turn lane a quarter mile to the north of the accident's location where motorists can make a legal U-turn. At the point of the accident, Lewis said, there is no left-turn lane, no stop sign, no traffic light and no easy way to cross the median.

"Worst of all, these conditions still exist today," he said. "There could be another, similar crash waiting to happen, and nothing will improve until we find out which jurisdiction is responsible for make it take responsibility."
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  1. cannot see the article , but if it the same thing we were discussing the other night , I think you know my thoughts! Tragic , yes,but certainly the blame is not being placed as squarely as it needs to be

  2. Wow. Tragic yes but agree with fernvalley01. Blame is not being placed where it needs to be.

  3. May be out in left field here....but why was the 9 yr old in the front seat with no seatbelt on???

  4. I'm way late in reading this as I just joined your blog, but it is my understanding #1 that if you hit the rear end of another vehicle, you are always the "at fault" driver. #2 if your child is injured because you did not take the time to assure that your child was safely secured in a seat belt, that is called Child Negligence and in AZ is a felony. I am very surprised that she was not charged.