Lilly Garcia’s beautiful brown eyes would light up a room. Her family members described her maturity as advanced well beyond her 4 years; according to them, “she had a beautiful soul.” Tragically, however, Lilly’s short life was abruptly ended when a gunman shot and killed her during an apparent road rage incident outside Albuquerque, New Mexico last week.
Alan Garcia had just picked up Lilly and her brother from school and was driving on Interstate 40. The facts are still developing, but according to several news outlets, Mr. Garcia realized he needed to exit the freeway to go to the grocery store. Apparently, however, he was not in the exit lane, and so he weaved his red pickup truck across two lanes of traffic toward the exit lane. In the process, he apparently cut off the car being driven by Tony Torrez.
Torrez pulled up alongside Garcia, and they exchanged words. Garcia heard gunshots hit his truck. His son called out, “she’s bleeding.” Garcia tried to speed away but Torrez followed, firing again. Finally, he hit the brakes and Torrez sped off.
Two off duty nurses pulled over to help Garcia. They held Lilly on the bed of the pickup truck, one nurse at her head, the other holding her feet. An ambulance arrived and they rushed her to the hospital. Unfortunately, it was too late; Lilly died from a gunshot wound to the head.
Lilly’s story is a terrible tragedy. Her family’s long road to recovery is only beginning, and Mr. Torrez faces a tough criminal prosecution.
Sadly, however, the story is not uncommon. According to one source, 66% of traffic fatalities are caused by aggressive driving, and 37% of aggressive driving incidents involve a firearm. Mess with the wrong person, and the results can be fatal.
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety published a brochure outlining ways to deal with aggressive driving and “road rage.” According to their study, “aggressive actions,” such as tailgating, erratic lane changing, or illegal passing are a factor in up to 56% of fatal crashes. They offer a number of suggestions to avoid aggressive driving incidents. For example, don’t cut people off. When you merge, make sure you have plenty of room and use your turn signal. If you do make a mistake, try to apologize with an appropriate gesture. Also, do not drive slowly in the left lane. Even though you may be right for driving within the speed limit, move to the right and allow the faster driver to pass. Finally, avoid tailgating. Allow at least a 2-second space between your car and the car ahead.
Unfortunately, there are ill-tempered people out there who sometimes cannot deal with the stresses of driving. While we in no way condone or justify aggressive, threatening, or violent behavior, the consequences, as shown by Lilly’s case, are simply too high to not take easy steps to reduce the chances of an incident. If you find yourself in an aggressive driving scenario, safely make your way to a populated place where you can stop your vehicle and call for help. If you find yourself engaging in aggressive driving – stop! Teaching the other driver a lesson may end up costing you far more!
If you have suffered injuries or a loved one has suffered death as a result of the negligence of another – whether through road rage or in any other instance, call the skilled attorneys at Brooks Law Group today. We can help determine whether you are entitled to any compensation.