When people happen to be involved in motor vehicle accidents in Texas, state law requires them to immediately stop their vehicle at the scene of an accident or as close to such scene as possible, return to the scene of the accident when a vehicle is not stopped at the scene of an accident, determine whether another person is involved in the accident, whether a person involved in the accident requires aid, and remain at the scene of the accident until they comply with the requirements of Texas Transportation Code § 550.023. The unfortunate truth is that many people in Texas continue to fail to abide by these laws, and this often leads to leaving the scene of an accident, or hit and run criminal charges.
Depending on the amount of damage an accident caused and whether other people suffered injuries, this crime could be either a misdemeanor or felony offense. Any person who is facing hit and run charges in the greater Dallas area will want to be sure they will be working with an experienced Dallas hit and run defense attorney.
Recent Hit and Run Stories
On March 27, 2023, KDFW-TV reported that a 29-year-old man accused of hitting and killing a bicyclist with his sport utility vehicle (SUV) pleaded guilty to multiple charges, including leaving the scene of an accident involving death, drug possession, and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. The man pleaded guilty to the multiple charges and a judge accepted the plea bargain agreement, sentencing him to seven years in prison.
Investigators said the man ran over a 45-year-old man riding his bicycle along Kleberg Road. Surveillance video from the date showed a white SUV hitting the bicyclist from behind and throwing him into the grass where he died from his injuries.
Dallas police said the video also showed the man get out of his car before leaving the area without helping. The victim’s sisters spoke outside the courtroom after the man was taken away in handcuffs and into the custody of the Dallas County sheriff without making any statement, and they said they were satisfied with the seven-year-sentence because they were eager to put the nightmare behind them while holding the hope that the man came out of prison a better man.
KXAS-TV reported on March 15, 2023, that Plano Police needed the help of the public in finding the driver of a semi-truck accused of causing the death of a young mother in a hit-and-run crash. Leah Alexis Daniels of McKinney was killed in a crash after being struck by several vehicles, and all but one of the drivers involved stopped.
The crash brought all of U.S. Route 75 (US 75) to a standstill at about 9:30 that night, although police did not have photographs or video of the suspect’s vehicle, so they were encouraging drivers to think back to the night in question. Daniels left behind a 5-year-old son and a mother pleading for witnesses to come forward.
The crash occurred along the southbound lanes of US 75 at Legacy Drive. Daniels’ car had stalled in the second lane to the right and she had her hazard lights on when she was rear-ended by a car.
The occupants of that car managed to run to safety. Police said that when the young mother tried to run out through her passenger door, the driver of a semi-truck without a trailer attached hit Daniels.
The impact sent the 29-year-old into traffic, where she was hit by another car. The occupants of that car also stopped, while the driver of the semi-cab did not.
Detectives with the Plano Police Department traffic unit described the semi as a ‘bob-tail’ Peterbilt 389 semi-truck. There was a $25,000 reward for information that led to an arrest and conviction for the driver of the Peterbilt Truck that struck Daniels.
WFAA-TV reported on December 7, 2022, that a minor in Dallas was charged with murder almost a month after a deadly hit-and-run crash. Dallas police arrested a 12-year-old boy in a hit-and-run accident that killed 82-year-old Florence Kelly on November 7 and charged him with murder.
Officials chose not to release the name of the alleged offender. After the fatal crash occurred, up to four people inside the suspected vehicle left the scene.
Investigators said the group also left behind a 13-year-old girl they were riding with because she could not escape from the car. Kelly’s daughter buried her mother soon after the crash alongside family and was driving to get groceries for her family when she was struck by a speeding vehicle at the intersection of Royal Lane and Rosser Road.
Kelly’s daughter said the group did not call 911. She is the sole caretaker for a husband who recently suffered a stroke leaving him immobile.
KXAS also reported that a North Texas family and church community were asking for the help of the public in finding a hit-and-run driver who caused the death of a beloved grandfather. The crash occurred at about 7:15 a.m. that Friday along U.S. Route 287 between Pioneer Parkway and Texas 114 in the Wise County community of Rhome.
Rhome Police said Jerry Wayne Newton died after being run off the highway while riding his motorcycle by an aggressive driver captured on surveillance video. A back-and-forth dispute lasted for several miles until Newton attempted to go around the left to the fast lane, and the pickup driver veered left and pushed the motorcycle into the grassy median.
Newton died at the crash scene. The police department released an image to help the public identify the driver responsible for the 55-year-old’s death.
Police said the suspect vehicle was a gray Ford F-250 or F-350 quad cab pulling a black gooseneck trailer hauling what appeared to be an asphalt roller vehicle. The truck was a newer model Ford with an aftermarket front bumper, hood scoop with market lights beneath the hood line, and had dark gray or black wheels.
The trailer has mismatched wheels, with the front trailer wheel on the driver’s side being white and the rear wheel being gray. On the passenger side, the front trailer wheel is gray and the back wheel is white.
Police were also seeking the driver of another pickup truck, black in color, also pulling a trailer with a yellow excavator that was seen following the suspect’s vehicle. Detectives believe the two vehicles could have been traveling together, and were last seen heading toward the city of Aurora.
The suspected hit-and-run driver could face manslaughter and felony failure to stop and render aid charges.
Hit and Run Charges in Dallas
Under Texas Transportation Code § 550.021, the driver of a vehicle involved in any crash resulting in or being reasonably likely to cause injury to or death of any person must immediately stop their vehicle at the scene of an accident or as close to such scene as possible, return to the scene of an accident if a vehicle is not stopped at the scene, determine whether another person was involved in an accident, and whether a person was involved in an accident, whether such person requires aid, and remain at the scene of an accident until the driver complies with the requirements of Texas Transportation Code § 550.023. Texas Transportation Code § 550.023 establishes that the driver of a vehicle involved in an accident causing the injury or death of a person or damage to a vehicle driven or attended by a person must give their name and address, the registration number of the vehicle they were driving, and the name of their motor vehicle liability insurance company to any person injured or the operator or occupant of or person attending a vehicle involved in a collision, when requested and available, show their driver’s license to a person described above, and provide any person injured in an accident reasonable assistance, including transporting or making arrangements for transporting a person to a physician or hospital for medical treatment when it is apparent that treatment will be necessary, or if an injured person requests such transportation.
A person commits a criminal offense when they do not stop or fail to comply with the requirements of Texas Transportation Code § 550.021. An offense under Texas Transportation Code § 550.021 involving an accident resulting in death of another person is a second-degree felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
An offense under Texas Transportation Code § 550.021 involving an accident resulting in serious bodily injury to a person is a third-degree felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000. An offense under Texas Transportation Code § 550.021 involving an accident resulting in any other injury is punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000.
Texas Transportation Code § 550.022 establishes that the driver of a vehicle that is involved in an accident causing only in damage to another vehicle driven or attended by a person must immediately stop their vehicle at the scene of an accident or as close as possible to the scene of the accident without obstructing traffic more than is necessary, return to the scene of the accident when the vehicle is not stopped at the scene of an accident, and remain at the scene of an accident until the driver complies with the requirements of Texas Transportation Code § 550.023. When an accident occurs on a main lane, ramp, shoulder, median, or adjacent area of any freeway in a metropolitan area and every vehicle involved is capable of being normally and safely driven, each driver must move their vehicle to a designated accident investigation site, when available, a location on a frontage road, the nearest suitable cross street, or another suitable location to complete the requirements of Texas Transportation Code § 550.023 and minimize interference with freeway traffic.
Failure to comply with the requirements of Texas Transportation Code § 550.022 is a Class C misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $500 when damage to all vehicles is less than $200. The crime is a Class B misdemeanor punishable by up to 180 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,000 if the damage to all vehicles is $200 or more.
Hit and Run Defense in Dallas, TX
Were you recently accused of leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident in the greater Dallas area? Do not wait another moment to get in touch with The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy because our firm has decades of experience handling these exact kinds of cases.
People need to be aware of how bad prosecutors are going to try to make them look in court when presenting their cases, and it will be important to have a strong legal defense against many allegations. You will want to call (972) 233-5700 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.