In the early hours of October 6, 2018, 20 people died in the deadliest traffic crash in nine years in the United States. Seventeen friends entered the limousine, owned by Prestige Limousine, unaware of the devastation to come. The massive vehicle raced down a hill at 60 miles an hour into a dangerous intersection. The driver lost control of the vehicle and crashed, killing everyone inside the limousine, as well as two people standing nearby. Autopsy results showed that the passengers and bystanders died of blunt force trauma, which is not uncommon in automobile accidents.
Sadly, this accident could have been prevented. The driver and limousine company had numerous safety violation against them. The 2001 Ford Excursion stretch limousine had failed numerous inspections in the weeks before the accident. On Sept. 4, 2018, the vehicle failed a brake test and was taken out of service by the state Department of Transportation. No skid marks were visible at the scene of the accident. This raises questions about whether the driver, Scott Lisinicchia, attempted to brake at all or if he did and the brakes failed. In addition, the driver of the limousine did not have proper licensing to drive the vehicle.
After the tragedy, the manager of Prestige Limousine, Nauman Hussain, was arrested and charged with criminally negligent homicide. On October 10, 2018, he plead not guilty and was released on bond. The following month, the first civil lawsuit was filed on behalf of one of the victims. While criminal charges serve an important purpose in deterring dangerous behavior like this, the civil justice system plays an equally important role. In order to maintain a safe community, it is critical to hold companies and individuals accountable for violations of basic safety standards. When companies do not abide by the law, it infringes on every individual's well-being. Horrific accidents such as this can be prevented if ordinary care is practiced. The primary function of a civil jury is to pass judgment on the defendant's behavior and to determine whether it is consistent with the safety standards the community expects from its members. If not, the jury makes that declaration through its verdict.