Natasha Newman, 17 years old from London, England, died October 17, 2010, following a rollover accident in Sevier County, Utah. According to the Spectrum, six students from Sunrise Academy, a youth home for troubled youth, were en route from Hurricane, Utah to Moab when the driver reportedly tried to get the attention of another vehicle in the convoy and lost control of the Chevy Suburban he or she was driving, causing the SUV to go off the left side of the road, rolling several times. Another 17 year-old student from Arlington, Mass, who was reportedly wearing only her lap belt, was ejected from the vehicle. She was transported to a Salt Lake hospital in critical condition. Four others in the vehicle also suffered injury, non-life threatening, and they were taken to Sevier Valley Medical Center in Richfield, Utah.
Video Courtesy of KSL.com.
I send my deepest condolences to the family of Natasha Newman for her tragic, untimely death. I also send my best wishes to those who were injured in this crash.
In situations like this, the public wants to know how exactly the accident happened so that similar repeats can be avoided or reduced. In this particular case, based on the news report, it sounds like the driver of this SUV failed to keep reasonable control of the vehicle. It also sounds like the driver allowed him or herself to be distracted by this other Sunrise Academy car on the road. At any rate, it is inexcusable, especially when you are transporting others for a commercial purpose, to drive in such a distracted manner. I wonder how old this driver was and how much experience they had transporting others commercially. The academy is responsible under the legal principle of respondeat superior for the negligence of their employees and agents who drive negligently and kill or hurt their passengers.
The family of Natasha are thus left with a wrongful death action against Sunrise Academy and the driver of the Suburban. Given the parent’s domicile in London, England, the action would need to be filed in federal court. The statute of limitations for filing such an action is two years.
The others injured in this crash, also have a claim against the Sunrise Academy and/or the driver. These claims potentially could be resolved against the insurance company for Sunrise Academy. I would advise the families of these teens to contact an experienced Utah wrongful death and personal injury lawyer for advise on the remedies that they might have.
The Kramer Law Group does not currently represent any of the parties referenced in the article at the time it was written. We have cited and linked to the source of our information. If you were involved in the above incident, or one like it, and have questions about your rights and possible remedies, you may call us or another reputable Utah personal injury law firm. Do not act based on the above information without getting a consultation. The best Utah personal injury attorneys will offer a free consultation. We offer a free and confidential consultation to those (and their family members) not substantially at fault in causing their accident. The information and opinions expressed above are provided as a public service and should not be used in place of legal advice from a qualified attorney.
Ron Kramer is a Utah personal injury and accident lawyer practicing throughout the state. Call the Kramer Law Group today at 801-666-3959 for a free consultation if you are in need of a Utah car accident attorney.