First Lawsuit Filed in Fort Worth 18-Wheeler Crash that Killed Five

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Names Truck Driver and Trucking Company as Defendants 

An injured victim and her family in Sunday’s deadly 18-wheeler crash have filed a lawsuit against the truck driver and his employer, Ryder Integrated Logistics, Inc. The horrific Fort Worth big-rig crash killed five people and injured 12, most of them good Samaritans who had stopped to help the victim of an earlier accident.

It’s been a bad few years for the good citizens around here who help out other stranded motorists — witness the “affluenza teen” case where I represented a severely injured young man.

Elyssa Alba (pictured at right with her fiancée who was killed in the accident) suffered severe injuries when the Ryder truck struck her. In addition to Elyssa, the lawsuit was filed on behalf of her two young children. The petition asks for $1 million, but the plaintiffs’ attorney expects this amount to increase as additional medical bills and damages related to Elyssa’s catastrophic injuries come to light.

Minor Crash Ends in Horrific Tragedy 

At around 2:30 a.m., Claudia Barraza was involved in a minor accident. Her BMW ran into a concrete barrier that separated the lanes on I-30 near Oakland Boulevard. Several motorists stopped to help the 37 year-old Fort Worth woman. The cars were pulled off the highway and the good Samaritans were standing in the shoulder of the road, according to the lawsuit.

Dustin Wayne Pool was driving a Ryder truck carrying the Fort Worth Star-Telegram Sunday edition. When he approached the scene, the Ryder driver slammed on his brakes but was unable to stop in time. He skidded into the other vehicles, sparking a fire that engulfed a Toyota Corolla and the BMW in flames. The people who tragically died in the fiery Ryder tractor-trailer crash are:

  • Claudia Barraza, who died at the scene. Some reports say she was burned beyond recognition and required DNA identification. 
  • 42 year-old Mary Hernandez from Fort Worth also died at the scene from injuries to her head, chest, abdomen and extremities. 
  • 45 year-old Steve Franklin, a Fort Worth father of three children, also died at the scene. Mr. Franklin patrolled our streets helping out motorists who were having vehicle problems. His wife sustained severe injuries in the big-rig crash.
  • 43 year-old Veronica Gonzalez died at the scene from brain, chest and extremities injuries. The Fort Worth woman is Elyssa’s fiancée. 
  • Elyssa’s 18 year-old sister, Clarissa Banda-Castillo, of San Antonio died that night at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas.

Elyssa is likely to remain hospitalized for a month. Doctors amputated her badly damaged leg. She also suffered massive brain trauma and multiple fractures to her jaw, arms and hips. Her two children were at the scene when the tractor-trailer collision occurred.

Driver Failed to Take Evasive Action to Avoid Deadly Collision 

The injury lawsuit claims that the Ryder truck driver failed to slow down, take action to avoid the crash and keep a safe distance from the vehicles he struck. In addition, the lawsuit alleges that Ryder failed to train its drivers to take appropriate evasive action upon approaching an accident.

For 35 years, Bill Berenson Injury Law has helped numerous clients who suffered catastrophic injuries and has represented families in wrongful death lawsuits just like this one. We are here to help you if you have been involved in a tractor-trailer accident. Call our Dallas-Fort Worth office for a free case evaluation toll-free at 1-888-801-8585 or in the Fort Worth area at 817-885-8000, or click on the contact button on this web site.

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