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Woman's police custody-death raises wrongful death questions

When a car accident occurs that results in someone's death, a clock of sorts begins ticking. Under Texas law, the window for making a claim of wrongful death is two years. That may seem like a long time, but if one delays consulting an attorney that long it may be detrimental. Evidence can be lost. Witness recollections can fade. Pursuit of any possible claim for compensation is likely to be most effective if an attorney is contacted swiftly.

A recent accident that ended in the death of a victim who was in the custody of Houston Police at the time she was injured sparks this post. The crash happened early Wednesday.

According to authorities, the 21-year-old woman who died was being taken to a sobriety center at the time. She had been detained at Hobby Airport and a determination had been made that her condition made her a hazard to herself. As she was being transported, the squad she was involved in a collision. The victim was thrown from the squad and died later at the hospital.

The driver of the other vehicle, another 21-year-old woman, has been charged with intoxication manslaughter in the case. Authorities say that she ran a red light and that she admitted to officers at the scene that she had been drinking and that she shouldn't have been driving.

But there is one element in the story that raises deeper questions about whether police might not bear some responsibility for this apparent wrongful death. Officials have confirmed that the victim who died had not been properly restrained with a seatbelt, in violation of department policy.

Source: KHOU.com, "Police: Woman who caused deadly HPD crash was drunk," Larry Seward, Oct. 2, 2013

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Brian Jensen

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