Criminal Defense | Personal Injury | Medical Malpractice | DUI Lawyers Erie, PA

Erie Car Accident Attorneys : Mother Charged in DUI Crash that Kills 14-Year-Old

On August 1, 2010, Christa Logue was driving her 2006 Dodge Caravan south on I-79 in Erie County, Pennsylvania when she apparently lost control, hit the median strip and caused a rollover car accident. Her 14 year old son, Joshua Gibson, was thrown from the vehicle and killed.

Ms. Logue has been charged with DUI and reportedly had a blood alcohol content nearly twice the legal limit.

It's easy to focus on the DUI aspect of this case. If true, the tragedy for this family is compounded by the culpability of the mother in her son's death. Even if not true, the story stands as yet one more example of the dangers of drunk driving.

But I think the vast majority of the population understands and has internalized the dangers of drunk driving. What I'm more concerned about is the other problem that is hidden in the details of the reports.

None of the reports I've read say whether Joshua was wearing a seat belt. But the fact that he was thrown from the vehicle suggests strongly that he was not wearing his seat belt or was not wearing it properly. And this is a huge safety problem that too many people ignore.

The most recent surveys suggest that more than a 1/4 of all drivers, 27%, still refuse to wear their seatbelts. And I won't even bother to cite the statistics about seat belt use and safety. I will tell you that in 19 years of practice I have seen countless fatalities and grotesque injuries that resulted from failure to wear a seat belt and I have never once seen a case where there was serious injury attributed to seat belt use.

From the legal perspective of a Pennsylvania personal injury lawyer, it doesn't matter if you wear your seatbelt. The law is very clear that seat belt use is both irrelevant and inadmissible in a Pennsylvania car accident injury case. Thus, a jury will never know whether or not an injured person was wearing his seatbelt.

However, there is little doubt that seat belts save lives and prevent terrible injuries. I suspect that a seat belt may have saved Joshua's life, regardless of his mother's conduct. So, take some advice from an Erie car accident lawyer who's seen enough gruesome photos to know. Wear your seatbelts. Teach your kids to wear seatbelts. Make your passengers wear seatbelts.

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