A fifteen year-old boy, Tommy Clark, lost his life due to an inattentive driver who admitted to police he was texting while driving. According to KSL News, this Vernal, Utah accident happened Sunday, September 2, 2012, as Tommy Clark was walking with a friend around 9 p.m. along 500 West near 1200 South. The motorist, driving a pickup truck, veered toward the side of the road and stuck Clark from behind, throwing him 40 feet through the air. He landed in a ditch, near a cow pasture. Tommy was taken by ambulance to Ashley Regional Medical Center and from there was transferred by helicopter to Primary Children’s Medical Center. He was taken off life support a day later and died around 1:20 p.m.
The motorist told police that he was texting at the time of the collision. The Uintah County Attorney’s office is currently investigating filing charges against the motorist, who has an extensive history of traffic and speeding violations going back ten years as well as a DUI.
This is a terrible tragedy, which was completely preventable. I send my deep condolences to this boy’s family and friends.
In Utah, texting while driving is illegal. Many still do it, however. While most people “get lucky” and nothing happens, this story is a reminder that fatal accidents like this can happen at any time if we drive while distracted by a cell phone.
I think the public will be outraged if charges are not filed against the motorist. I expect the Uintah County Attorney will file these fairly soon. In the meantime, the family of young Tommy Clark has a claim against the motorist for wrongful death. The policy limits of the man’s insurance should be paid over, as well as the death benefits. Additionally, his family can make a claim on their “underinsured” policy.