On January 11th, 2024 8 News Now reported on a tragic fatal wrong way motor vehicle collision that happened in Southern Nevada. Jessica Tabares survived the catastrophic wreck—but, sadly, her husband did not. As with so many other wrong-way collisions on highways, the couple was struck by a driver with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) that was far above the legal limit. Within this article, our Las Vegas car accident attorney discusses the devastating story in more detail and highlights the dangers of wrong way collisions.
Nevada Woman the Victim of Wrong Way Crash that Took Life of Her Husband
Jessica Tabares is a rare survivor of a wrong way freeway crash. The catastrophic crash occurred on February 5, 2023, when another driver (Quinyana Long) was operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol, cocaine, and marijuana. Ms. Long entered the northbound lanes of the 215 Beltway in Summerlin going in the southbound direction. Jessica and her husband, Jose, were returning home when their Chevrolet pickup. Tragically, they were struck head-on. The impact caused their vehicle to rotate counterclockwise, getting hit by another car. Jose was killed in the crash. Jessica was severely injured in the head-on collision.
The broader issue of wrong-way crashes in southern Nevada is alarming. It is an especially dangerous concern on highways during weekend nights. According to the report from the investigation team at 8 News Now these crashes almost invariably involve impaired drivers—often heavily impaired drivers. Indeed, nearly 90 percent of the fatal wrong-way crashes investigated involved drivers under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or both. The analysis also highlights a gap in data. Some drivers who caused fatalities were never tested for impairment.
Wrong Way Collisions are Disproportionately Likely to Be Catastrophic
Wrong way collisions are among the most dangerous types of motor vehicle crashes. These incidents most often occur when a driver, often impaired, enters a roadway in the opposite direction of traffic. There are two key reasons why these crashes are disproportionately likely to cause severe injuries or fatalities:
- High Speed: As most wrong way accidents happen on divided highways, they frequently happen at a high speed. High speed crashes cause extreme damage.
- Head-On: The head-on nature of wrong-way collisions can amplify their severity. The amount of force that comes with two vehicles that strike each other while going in the opposite direction is extraordinary.
Why Wrong Way Crashes Happen (Often Caused By Drunk Driving or Drugged Driving)
It is not common for motorists to enter a divided highway going in the wrong direction. Indeed, it is something that the vast majority of drivers will never do. That being said, it is a serious safety hazard that does happen in Las Vegas and elsewhere on freeways in Clark County. The vast majority of wrong way crashes in Nevada share the following common characteristic:
- Driver Impairment: Most wrong way accidents happen because a driver is drunk or on drugs. When someone is under the influence, they cannot think clearly or make good decisions. They might miss signs or get confused about which way to go. Driving drunk or on drugs slows down reaction time too. If something unexpected happens, the driver cannot react as quickly to avoid a crash.
What to Know About Liability for a Drunk Driving Accident Claim in Nevada
Nevada is a fault-based motor vehicle crash state. Drunk driving is a criminal act. It is also negligence. A drunk driver can be held legally liable for a crash. They must be held accountable in both criminal court and civil court. Their insurance company must be held responsible as well. A suspected DUI crash in Nevada should be thoroughly investigated by an experienced attorney.
Unfortunately, there is generally no option to hold a bar or other alcohol provider liable for a DUI crash. Nevada does not have a traditional dram shop law. Unlike many other states, our state generally does not hold commercial establishments—bars, restaurants, liquor stores, etc—liable for selling alcohol to an intoxicated person who later causes injury or damage.
Note: There are limited exceptions under Nevada law. Most notably, if an establishment serves alcohol to a minor, and that minor causes an accident, the establishment might be held liable.
We Help Wrong Way Accident Victims Get Justice and Financial Compensation
A wrong way crash can lead to a devastating head-on collision. Following such a bad accident, it is imperative that victims are able to secure justice, accountability, and the maximum financial support. Ladah Law Firm takes on even the most serious of catastrophic accident claims. No matter the situation that you and your family are dealing with—from a personal injury claim to a wrongful death case—we are prepared to help. Compensation may be sought for:
- Property damage, including vehicle repairs;
- Ambulance costs and emergency room treatment;
- Hospital bills and related medical expenses;
- Physical therapy and long-term care needs;
- Lost wages and loss of earning power;
- Pain and suffering and emotional distress;
- Long-term disability or impairment; and
- Wrongful death of a family member.
In Nevada, punitive damages may be awarded in a limited number of motor vehicle crash claims. Broadly speaking, punitive damages are imposed against the at-fault party to punish extremely reckless (grossly negligent) conduct. In a drunk driving case or a drugged driving case—especially a wrong way collision claim—the victim may be able to pursue punitive damages. An experienced Las Vegas catastrophic auto accident attorney can help.
Contact Our Las Vegas Auto Accident Attorney Today
At Ladah Law Firm, our Las Vegas car accident lawyer has the skills and experience to handle the full range of catastrophic crashes, including wrong way collisions. If you or your family member was hurt in a serious wrong way crash, we are here to fight for your rights. Call us now at 702-252-0055 or reach out to us directly online for a free review of your case. From our Las Vegas law office, we take on motor vehicle accident cases in Clark County and across Southern Nevada.