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FBI Concludes Civil Rights Investigation Against North Augusta Police Officer

021014_3It has taken nearly two years for the FBI to conclude the civil rights investigation they launched in an attempt to understand what caused a public safety officer to shoot and kill a drunk driver that they had pulled over.

In February of 2014, Justin Craven engaged in a car chase with 68-year-old Ernest Satterwhite who Craven suspected of DUI.

After Satterwhite crossed the county line dividing North Augusta from Edgefield County, Satterwhite pulled into a driveway. At this point, Craven left his own vehicle and approached Satterwhite’s.

The dashboard video shows footage of Craven pulling his weapon when he approached the Satterwhite’s vehicle. When a hand emerges from the open window, Craven pulled back, only to reinsert the gun through the weapon at which time shots are fired.

An investigation revealed that not only was Satterwhite unarmed when he was shot, he didn’t even have a weapon in his vehicle

The entire amount of time that passed from Craven first reaching the car and firing his first shot was four seconds.

Craven agreed to plead guilty to misconduct charges in April and was fired from the North Augusta Police Department. In the wake of his plea, he was sentenced to do 80 hours of community service and was placed on a three-year probation.

Craven-and-Satterwhite-500The judge tasked with issuing Craven’s sentence said that while he didn’t agree with or condone Craven’s actions, he could understand how the officer thought he was in danger.

Circuit Judge Frank Addy sentenced Craven. The Standard reported Judge Addy indicated he did not consider the shooting justified, but could understand why Craven thought he was in danger.

Special Agent Michael Stansbury was in charge of the investigation, told the press that while his portion of the investigation was over, he did not know how the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice would choose to handle the case.

Following the incident, North Augusta agreed to a wrongful death settlement with Satterwhite’s estate. The amount of the settlement was $1.2 million.

“These types of cases are so difficult because it’s easy to see both sides point of view,” said Attorney Joseph Sandefur of South Carolina’s top personal injury firm at joeandmartin.com. “On one hand, I find the idea of what is supposed to be a highly trained police officer killing an unarmed man alarming, particularly since I put so much face in the local police departments. On the other hand, I know how much stress the officers have to deal with all the time and realize how easily they can make a mistake.”

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Anytime someone dies as the direct reaction of someone else, such as being shot by a police officer, it’s considered a wrongful death, or a death that could have been prevented.

It’s important to understand that just because the defendant wasn’t found guilty of the crime, it doesn’t mean you don’t have the grounds to create a civil case against them.

 

Investigation Underway After Body Found Near Myrtle Beach Garden

A work crew working along the Palmetto Expressway was shocked when they discovered a body, which the Myrtle Beach-Dade medical examiner’s office confirmed was a female on the following day.

The body was located just a short distance from the main roadway where it was caught between the branches of some bushes. In order to remove the body, a crew consisting of both the police, members of the medical examiner’s office, and local county workers were forced to use saws to get through the branches and also had to cut their way through a chain link fence. The crew spent hours working to free the body.

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It didn’t take long for people to realize that the body was located quite near the location where Jennifer Bennett’s car had been found abandoned.

The 27-year-old had been last seen at 5:00 pm when she left her home one evening. Her family reported that she had plans to connect with a friend for the evening, but she never made it to her final destination. The only piece of evidence the police has is her car, which was discovered abandoned near Myrtle Beach Gardens.

caution-tape-tree“It is always difficult to know just what to wish for in cases like this,” Joe and Martin, mused when he learned about the gruesome discovery. “On one hand, you want the family to be able to gain some closure, the other, you know that as long as the body of their loved one isn’t found, there’s still hope she is alive and well.

Whether it’s the body of Jennifer Bennet or not, I hope the family is paying close attention to how the police are handling the matter of their daughter’s disappearance. It’s up to the Bennet family to make sure that everything possible is being done to learn what happened to their daughter on the night she disappeared. The family wants to make sure that the police continue to investigate her disappearance and at the same time, don’t make a misstep that could jeopardize the chances of someone eventually being found guilty of the crime, whether it’s kidnapping or murder.

If the body that’s been discovered near the Palmetto Expressway does turn out to be Jennifer Bennet’s remains, I urge the family to touch base with a good attorney and discuss the possibility of filing a wrongful death claim in civil court.”

In legal terms, a wrongful death is what occurs when someone passes away as a direct result of someone else’s actions. Examples of wrongful deaths include DUI accidents, deaths caused by faulty equipment, medical malpractice deaths, and murder.

A civil case for a wrongful death can be filed by an immediate family member of the deceased which generally includes parents, children, siblings, and spouses.

These civil case for a wrongful death can result from a wide variety of discriminatory misconduct, including misconduct regarding age, disability, race and religious discrimination—as well as different types of harassment charges.

The type of lawyer you need to have on your side when you decide to file a wrongful death lawsuit is one who practices personal injury law. They have the experience and resources needed to help you file the paperwork, investigate the case, and negotiate a settlement.

 

California Authorities Warn of the Dangers of Drowsy Driving

Even though most Californians would never dream of getting behind the wheel after they’ve been drinking, many of us don’t hesitate to drive despite being so tired we can barely keep our eyes open.

Recent research indicates that drowsy driving is every bit as dangerous as getting behind the wheel while drunk. Every day, throughout Pennsylvania and the rest of the United States, police officers draft reports regarding auto accident attorney where drowsy driving is listed as the key factor behind the incident. The driver was either too tired to respond properly while events unfolded around them, or their weariness made it impossible for them to drive in a responsible manner.

Statistics indicated that approximately 1.2 million accidents are caused each year because of drivers who were sleepy when they hit the road. It’s estimated that 8,000 people are killed each year as a result of these drowsy driving incidents.

Cognitive studies have been performed on people who are drowsy. These studies revealed what most people already suspected, that exhaustion, fatigue, and sleepiness has a serious impact on both alertness and cognitive function. Someone who has not gotten any rest for 17-19 hours has about the same cognitive function and reflexes as a driver who blows a .05 on a breathalyzer. Staying awake for an extra hour brings them even with a person who has a blood alcohol level of .1 percent. Some officers who have observed drowsy driving behavior report that tired drivers make scare them more than many of the drunk drivers they’ve arrested

The good news is that now that the dangers of drowsy driving are becoming more readily known, many California businesses are taking steps to make sure employees aren’t killed or injured while driving tired. It’s becoming increasingly common for a business to contact uber or a make some other arrangements for an employee to get home if that employee put in an extra-long day at the work place.

Law enforcement is working hard to make sure drivers fully understand the risk of driving while drowsy and hope that by promoting the dangers of the act with the same vigor that they promote the hazards of driving while under the influence, they’ll encourage people to take a nap or call cab rather than driving while exhausted.

The thought of people driving while tired in California makes Drew Warren, managing partner of a top personal injury firm with an office headquartered in California, shudder. “I’ve seen horrifying examples of what can happen as the result of drowsy driving. The worst part is that most of the drivers don’t even realize that they’re tired until they’re halfway to their destination and start falling asleep behind the wheel.”

There have been numerous injuries across California linked to drowsy driving accidents. Warren urged victims to take legal actions. “If someone is hurt due to a drowsy driver, they’re just as entitled to a settlement as someone who was hurt in a drunk driving crash.”

 

Brain Injury Attorney Wins Football Related Case

 

The family of former high school football player at Belt High School in Belt Montana, is seeking legal restitution for a brain injury he suffered in a football game. While playing one evening in a regular game, high school player Robert Back exhibited the classic symptoms of concussion. He was experiencing nausea and severe headaches that would not abate. Since these issues often happen in high school football games, the coach dismissed the sickness and required that Back play again despite his current state of health.

It turned out that Back had suffered a concussion, a severe form of head and brain injury, during the game. When a person has suffered a concussion, it is necessary that they rest for a period and receive the correct amount of hydration and medicine so that there brain has a chance to recover from the injury. It is also vitally important that the injured person does not expose their brain to any more risk. Further blows to the head can damage the already fragile brain to a point at which it cannot recover.

Recent research suggests that scientists are currently working on new ways to treat concussion and brain injury. They have found through their research that when the hormone progesterone is given immediately after a head injury, the inflammation that causes the brain damage is severely reduced. Progesterone is commonly known as the female pregnancy hormone (it protects the baby’s health in the womb). However, it less commonly know is that it can aid the treatment at the onset of a head injury. If this information were more widely available, brain injuries could be become a less common occurrence in the world of sport’s injuries.

Fortunately, brain damage has become a bigger topic in the news recently, especially in regards to high school football and lacrosse games. These sports pose a great risk to the health of the players because of the violence involved in the game play. It is a tragedy that this type of “keep playing,” attitude is still so prevalent, and it is terrible that so many people have received brain injuries that they cannot recover from. However, it is good that the issue is become more widespread.  Moreover, people need to know about the dangers of concussions, so that they can prevent them in the future. People should seek the help of an attorney concerning the financial restitution they are entitled to receive, which can be a large asset in the numerous medical bills, as well as the heartache suffered by the family.

In Back’s case, his family chose to contact a brain injury attorney, JohnBales.com,  because they rightly believed that the head coach made several lapses in judgment pertaining to the well-being of their son. The management of a minor, in a sports game, is a serious responsibility and the law holds these individuals to very high standards.

Brain injury attorneys are well aware of the dangers of concussions, as well as the dangers associated with severe blows to the head. Since these types of cases are the most common types of brain injury, a brain injury attorney will be well aware of legal details involved in cases involving high-impact sports. If your child has suffered a brain injury, because of the negligence of a sport’s coach, contact a brain injury attorney today.

 

 

Different Types of Laws

 

Meeker Avenue Safety

In Williamsburg, Brooklyn, a woman was killed after being struck by a city bus.

The victim, a 21-year-old woman, was struck Saturday morning at the junction of Meeker and Union avenues around 1:30 a.m. Police were called to the intersection.

The Q59 Metropolitan Transportation Authority bus runs between Rego Park, Queens and the Williamsburg Bridge Plaza in Brooklyn. The victim was walking south on Union Avenue at the time of the accident.

It was reported that the Q59 Metropolitan bus was making a left hand turn onto westbound Meeker Avenue when the accident happened.

The victim was rushed to Woodhull Medical Center by Emergency crews, where she was pronounced dead, police said.

The victim’s family members gathered at the scene after learning of the accident. They were grief-stricken.  They reported that the 21-year-old was on her way home from work when she was hit by the bus.

The 50-year-old female MTA bus driver was uninjured but shaken by the horrible turn of events, police reported.

The driver did remain at the scene. The NYPD Collision Investigation Squad was investigating the accident.

Meeker and Union avenues, located just yards from the exit on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, reopened around 6 a.m.

So far, no charges have been filed against the MTA bus driver.

Next month, the DOT will present safety improvements for Meeker Avenue by the BQE in Williamsburg. The department will bring a proposal to Brooklyn Community Board 1 on January 12th.

In total, there have been 104 injuries and three fatalities on Meeker Avenue between 2012 and 2014. The BQE runs for a mile above Meeker Avenue between North 6th street and Vandervort Avenue – dividing the neighborhood in half. This poses great risks to pedestrians and cyclists at almost every single corner.

This April, Transportation Alternative announce a Make Meeker Move campaign. The purpose of this campaign is to ask the DOT to conduct a pedestrian safety study. Safety Improvements need to be made to this dangerous street. The community is calling for the DOT to improve pedestrian safety and create protected bike lanes along the Meeker corridor.

There has also been a request to make a pedestrian crossing where Skillman Avenue intersects with Meeker. The DOT’s response seems to indicate that they are looking for ways to shorten select crossing distances.

According to the CDC website, the Injury Prevention and Control: Motor Vehicle Safety article stated, “In 2012, 4,743 pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes in the United States, and another 76,000 pedestrians were injured.”

Pedestrians that travel the Meeker Avenue corridor should be diligent until better safety measures are put into action. Pedestrians that walk at night should wear reflective or bright clothing. Remember to always use crosswalks. Always wait for your crossing signals. Do not cross against the light. Pedestrians should refrain from reading, texting, talking on the phone, or listening to music loud enough to drown out traffic noises – in other words, stay alert while walking.

Pedestrians that suffer a personal injury in New York due to driver negligence, should seek a New York Personal Injury Attorney immediately. New York Personal Injury Attorneys Pulvers Thompson, will know how to protect your rights. After a serious pedestrian accident the injured party will incur the cost of both current and future medical expenses. Loss of wages, or even the loss of a job altogether can disrupt lives and have a negative impact on recovery. New York Personal Injury Attorneys will help seek compensation for these losses and can demand restitution for the surviving family members of someone who died because of someone else negligence.

 

 

 

Amanda Spence

It’s always nice to go outside and walk around. It’s nice to enjoy the Florida weather, especially this time of year. Going out for a walk or run is a great idea, but also poses hidden dangers along the roadways. Pedestrians need to be especially careful on the roads and sidewalks, no matter the circumstance. People walking, riding a bike or any other roadside activity must constantly watch their surroundings for anything out of the ordinary. In Orlando, a tragedy or personal injury can occur at any time of day and in any place in the city. People near the roadways must stay vigilant and alert at all times.

Statistics show that pedestrian injuries and fatalities occur frequently. In 2013, 4,735 people were killed in pedestrian and motor vehicle crashes. This equates to more than 12 people every day of the year. It’s always important to look around constantly to determine safety concerns. Try to walk or run on sidewalks and the sides of roadways to avoid an accident. If running or biking at night, always wear reflective items or clothing. It’s also good to wear a headlamp or light source so motorists can see you from all directions.

Urban areas are a very common place for pedestrian accidents. Even people with the right of way aren’t always seen, and a tragedy could happen in an instant. Almost three out of every four pedestrian fatalities occur in urban areas. Crosswalks are a very dangerous place for pedestrians. These are found all over urban areas, allowing for many and more chances for an innocent bystander to be hurt. Orlando is a large urban area, known for its bad traffic and accidents. Personal injuries and fatalities happen far too often in the Central Florida area.

Pedestrians are often hurt in traffic crashes and have a long record of fatalities. 76,000 pedestrians were injured in traffic crashes in 2012 alone. We hear about these tragedies constantly on the news. Many crashes aren’t even reported. Of the ones that are, police reported 5,615,000 motor vehicle crashes in 2012. Many of these involve pedestrians. They have a very high risk of being injured with every step they take along a roadway. What can walkers and runners do to avoid being involved in a crash? Try to find a trail or use a road with a clear and visible sidewalk not directly next to the roadway. This will help decrease the likelihood of being involved in a vehicle crash.

Pedestrian fatalities and injuries are a common occurrence in the United States. According to the CDC, there is one crash related pedestrian death every two hours, and a pedestrian injury every 7 minutes. These statistics are hard to believe and unsettling. Many of these involve children going to and from school. In 2012, an astonishing one in every five children between the ages of 5 and 15 were  reportedly killed in traffic crashes as pedestrians. We can’t even trust that our children will be safe walking a few blocks to school. The roads are too dangerous and pose a major threat to easily distracted children.

In Orlando, and other major cities, pedestrians must do everything they can do avoid a personal injury or accident. Most likely, if involved in an accident, they would be hurt. In 2011, pedestrian road users experienced an increase in fatalities, at a total of 4,432 deaths. Orlando pedestrians must always stay vigilant and aware of everything going on around them. Avoid distracting things, like talking on a cell phone or texting. Walking around traffic requires the exact same critical thinking skills as driving a car. This means pedestrians must stay alert and ready for anything.

If you are ever involved in a traffic accident, or need help with a personal injury in Orlando, you can always count on IRS Medic Law to be there for you. People in Central Florida need to have a plan for the worst, especially pedestrians. Always stay alert and vigilant, and plan for the unexpected.

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