On December 13, 2007, David Hudson, a 27 year-old co-owner of a sandwich shop was out at a night club with some friends in Johnson City, Tennessee. He left the club to retrieve something from his car at around 11pm, but he never returned. As he was crossing the street he was hit by a drunk driver.
David Wilcox was the driver who his Hudson that night. According to reports, Wilcox struck Hudson from behind and projected him into Wilcox’s windshield, over the car, and 90 feet down the road. Hudson sustained fatal head injuries when his body hit the ground.
The test on Wilcox’s blood showed that the 57 year-old driver had a blood alcohol level of .15 that night (extreme DUI in Arizona). The police investigation showed that Wilcox was driving at about 60mph without his headlights on that night. It also showed that Wilcox did not hit his brakes before he hit Hudson. A review of Wilcox’s driving records showed he had had four previous DUIs.
After the accident, Wilcox argued that Hudson walked out in front of his car and that it was Hudson’s negligence, not Wilcox’s drunkenness that caused Hudson’s death. A jury found Wilcox guilty of vehicular homicide. Wilcox was sentenced to five years in prison and was ordered to repay the family for Hudson’s funeral and burial.
Hudson’s parents filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Wilcox to prove that their son was not responsible for his death. A wrongful death claim may be brought by the survivors of someone who has died due to another person’s negligence. According to their attorney, they wanted to send a “clear message to the community that driving under the influence of an intoxicant is not and shall not be tolerated.” They sued Wilcox for $3 million, the damages they believed their son would have been able to collect from Wilcox for negligence if Hudson had survived the accident. The jury declared that Wilcox was responsible for Hudson’s death and awarded his parents $11 million.
The Hudsons may never see a penny of that $11 million because Wilcox, currently incarcerated, claims he has no money, property, or income. Even if they did, no amount of money could ever compensate them for the loss of their child. The parents’ goal in pursuing this lawsuit was to clear their son’s name, and in that sense, they were victorious. They said they hoped that their story might prevent others from being killed in drunk driving accidents.
If you have lost a loved one in a drunk driving accident, please contact the Phoenix personal injury lawyers at the personal injury law firm Oracle Law Group today.