Crosley Law Firm Helps Retired Police Officer’s Family Settle in Four-car Crash Case

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The family of Roger Miller, a retired police officer struck and killed in Wilson County east of Floresville on March 26, 2014, has settled their lawsuit against the three defendants who allegedly contributed to his untimely death; the defendants included the driver of the vehicle that struck Miller, the driver of a semi truck pulling a flatbed, and the trucking company’s owner.

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The family of Roger Miller, a retired police officer struck and killed in Wilson County east of Floresville on March 26, 2014, has settled their lawsuit against the three defendants who allegedly contributed to his untimely death; the defendants included the driver of the vehicle that struck Miller, the driver of a semi truck pulling a flatbed, and the trucking company’s owner. Miller’s widow and two daughters were represented by attorney Tom Crosley of Crosley Law Firm, PC, and the total settlement amount paid to the Miller family was $1,580,000. (Case No. I4-05-0328-CVW; 218th Judicial District Court of Wilson County, Texas)

According to court documents, on March 26, 2014, at approximately 8:45 AM, 68-year-old Miller was on his way home from a meeting with the Floresville Electric Light and Power Company. He was driving his black Honda Ridgeline truck traveling east on State Highway 97 in Wilson County, Texas. Another driver, Mr. Miguel Ramirez, was driving his white Chevrolet Silverado east on State Highway 97 behind Mr. Miller. On the other side of the highway, Robert Lazcano was driving his Chevrolet Silverado. Behind him, James Kemp (individually and doing business as J&J Transportation) was driving his Peterbilt Tractor Trailer, which was owned and operated by Priscilla Kemp, west on State Highway 97.

In the suit, the supposed details surrounding the ensuing crash were enumerated. It was alleged that Mr. Lazcano slowed his vehicle due to a dog being in the roadway and that Mr. Kemp was following Mr. Lazcano too closely and failed to notice Mr. Lazcano’s vehicle slowing down. It was then supposed that Mr. Kemp violently rear-ended him and forced him into the eastbound lane, which caused him to strike Mr. Miller’s vehicle head-on. The impact to Mr. Miller’s vehicle is presumed to have caused him to spin around and make him skid into a ditch where he struck Mr. Ramirez’s vehicle in the rear drivers’ side area.

The court documents explain that as a result of the collision, Mr. Miller sustained massive injuries and died at the scene. Lazcano sustained serious injuries including cervical and lumbar spine fractures; he was airlifted to University Hospital, underwent urgent spine surgery, and spent 7 days in the ICU. Ramirez also sustained minor injuries.

As noted in the court records, the Miller family intervened in the lawsuit originally filed by Robert Lazcano against James Kemp and J&J Trucking. The Miller family also named Priscilla Kemp as a defendant in the lawsuit because she was listed by the US Department of Transportation as the owner of J&J Transportation.

In the suit, both Lazcano and the Miller family alleged that the negligence of James Kemp, individually and doing business as J&J Transportation, contributed to cause the four-vehicle crash that claimed the life of Roger Miller. However, the Miller family also alleged that Robert Lazcano was negligent and that his negligence contributed to the fatal crash as well. Court documents outlining the engine control module (ECM) download data from Mr. Lazcano’s vehicle revealed that he slowed his truck down to 27 miles per hour on a rural highway with a speed limit of 70, and although he testified that Kemp's 18 wheeler was tailgating him, this sudden speed change was also an alleged contributing factor to his being rear-ended by James Kemp and being catapulted into Mr. Miller’s lane of travel.

Tom Crosley, head of Crosley Law Firm and the attorney representing the Miller family, explained that “Crosley Law Firm pursued all possible avenues of compensation, including making a claim against Mr. Miller’s uninsured motorist coverage and receiving the policy limit of $50,000 from it; however, the uninsured motorist claim could not be made until after the claims against the other parties were resolved.” Crosley also expressed that he was impressed with the speed of the proceedings: “Despite this delay and the complexity of this claim, the short amount of time it took for Crosley Law Firm to resolve this case is remarkable: the accident occurred in late March, the lawsuit was on file by May, the initial investigation and witness depositions were completed in August, and the case was settled in October with payment allocated in December. This timetable is considered very fast in the legal industry where the average payout can take 18-24 months.”

This tragedy is one among many trucking-related personal injury and wrongful death cases that Crosley Law Firm handles each year from the Eagle Ford Shale region. As reported by USA Today, from 2008 to 2013, over 7,000 new oil and gas wells were constructed in the Eagle Ford Shale region. Along with these new industrial developments, Texas has become one of the most dangerous states to drive in: according to NPR, traffic fatalities in the state rose by 8% between 2009 and 2013 while the rest of the country has seen a steady reduction in traffic deaths, and the number of these fatalities in Texas linked to increased commercial vehicle traffic has risen by over 50% during the same period.

Crosley Law Firm continues to pursue these cases to help protect and seek justice for innocent victims and their families. Roger Miller was loved by his community, and he will be sorely missed. Following his military service, he served more than 30 years in the police departments of the city of San Antonio and the city of La Vernia. He also served on the La Vernia city council.

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Vivian Martinez
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