January 27, 2015 — In a record-setting verdict for a wrongful death in New Mexico, a jury in Santa Fe has awarded $165 million on behalf of a mother and daughter who were killed when a FedEx truck hit their pickup.
The tragic accident occurred at 1:30 a.m. on the morning of June 22, 2011 on I-10 outside Las Cruces, New Mexico. A pickup truck driven by 22 year-old Mariali Venegas of El Paso, Texas, was reportedly pulled to the side of the highway with its hazard lights flashing.
A FedEx truck driven by Elizabeth Quintana slammed into the back of Venegas’s truck at 65 mph, with no signs of slowing down, according to KRQE News.
The accident claimed the lives of Venegas, her 4 year-old daughter, and Quintana. Only Venegas’s 19 month-old son survived.
Attorneys for the Venegas family blamed FedEx and said they hope the record-setting verdict sends a message about improving driver training, especially for fatigued drivers who are on the road during the “danger zone” between midnight and 6 a.m.
One of the attorneys representing the family told KRQE:
“They need to be responsible for their actions. The entire time, from the very beginning, they have denied responsibility and tried to pass responsibility off on someone else.”
FedEx sent their heartfelt condolences to the victims of the crash, but said they “respectfully” disagree with the jury’s decision and plan on exploring their options, including appeal.
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