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Truck driver negligence leaves 2 dead, 3 injured in massive crash

A massive crash involving five tractor-trailers is a rare event even on the overused highways of Texas. It happened at about 3:30 a.m. on Interstate 20 West near Longview, in what appears to be a case of truck driver negligence. The driver of a 2014 semi-trailer crashed into four other semitrailers that were stopped for traffic in the westbound lanes. That driver, a 66-year-old male, and his passenger, a 52-year-old female, both died from their injuries, and were declared dead at the scene by a justice of the peace.

Three other truck drivers were taken to the hospital with injuries. Because the only moving vehicle prior to the collision was the 2014 semitrailer that crashed into the stopped line of traffic, it is a rather clear case of truck driver negligence. The Texas Department of Public Safety issued a news release indicating that the offending trucker failed to observe the traffic congestion that had stopped the vehicles on the highway.

Rent-to-own contracts backfire as renters face felony charges

Consumers who rent furniture and other items in Texas may find themselves unwittingly facing criminal charges if they fail to pay the rental payments. In some cases, this has resulted in gross abuses of the criminal process by arresting consumers on felony theft of services charges, even though they have already paid thousands in rental payments for furniture that is relatively worthless. One woman who rented a bedroom suite worth $2,750 in 2014 thought that the paperwork that she signed gave her ownership rights in the furniture after she paid $3,000.

When she paid the $3,000, she stopped paying. She learned that if she did not pay another $5,000, not only would she not be able to keep her furniture, but she would be arrested by the rental center for theft of services. She learned from the rental center that she had signed a rental contract and not a purchase contract, despite the wording on the papers that said, "rent-to-own" contract.

Service member loses child custody when deployed to Afghanistan

In Texas and elsewhere, child custody can be a difficult right to enforce for active members of the military. One father serving in Afghanistan recently lost custody of his 11-year-old son, who has been living with him and his family for nine years. The child custody court that heard the case nine years ago decided that it was in the best interest of the boy for him to be in the custody of his father. 

However, a court recently granted custody to the mother because the father was deployed to Afghanistan. The judge reportedly neglected the serviceman's case until the man was deployed and then quickly took up the mother's case for custody. With the father away, the child custody judge presumably ruled that it would be a danger for the child to not be in the mother's care.

Does the age of a parent matter for custody?

You had a child with your spouse, but you were very young at the time. Now, you're just 23 with a 5-year-old child and looking at a divorce. Your spouse is several years older than you, turning 32 shortly. You're concerned that you won't be taken as seriously in court. Your age concerns you, because you know older adults usually have better career prospects and have more life experience.

You are somewhat right in that you should be concerned, but maybe not just because of your age. Everyone's situation is different, so the court has to weigh child custody on those differences. In your case, if your husband has a good job, the ability to provide a better life for your child and has a stable relationship with your child, he might be in a better position to argue for child custody.

Truck accidents do not always involve truck driver negligence

Trucking accidents occur regularly on Texas highways. On Dec. 21, the state witnessed one of its most freakish truck accidents, which resulted in two deaths. At about 2:22 a.m. on that date, a tanker-trailer heading east on I-10 in El Paso struck the protruding arm of a massive construction vehicle that was sticking out about four feet onto the highway. The collision turned part of the driver's side of the truck into a shredded sculpture resembling a tangled web of steel.

That trucker pulled his vehicle over to inspect the damage. Within minutes, a second tractor-trailer struck the overhanging construction equipment. The violence of the impact was so strong that it crushed the cab and sent the driver of that second tractor into the sleeper section of the cab, where he collided with a sleeping passenger. The impact's force ejected the passenger onto the highway, while the rig continued forward.

Separation can set the stage for facing divorce challenges

For a Texas resident, the move to obtain a divorce will call for certain necessary actions that are widely recommended to secure the best outcome. Several things must be done to clear the way for a transition that is not overly stressful. If these principles are followed, the road to divorce will be a bit easier and will encourage more self-assurance along the way.

The first step is to make sure that all financial and legal records are copied. A complete set should be kept together in one's files and made accessible for when the divorce attorney requests any or all of them. At the same time, one can act to separate all joint accounts and credit cards. Where the other spouse has co-signed on a car loan, see what the bank needs to get the spouse's name eliminated. If the spouse's name was put on the title, this will likely be handled by the attorneys, unless the parties are friendly enough to take care of such items preliminarily.

Hit-and-run accident raises serious insurance issues

There are thousands of hit-and-run accidents in Texas each year. One in 5 of all pedestrian fatalities nationwide are classified as hit-and-run, according to the American Automobile Association. This type of accident raises insurance issues where there are injuries or deaths caused by the absent driver. If the tortfeasor has absconded, who is going to compensate the injured victims or the estates of deceased victims?

In the event of serious injury or death caused by a negligent or reckless driver who has absconded, the first point of inquiry will be the effort to find the wrongdoer. The police will conduct a serious investigation and put resources into locating the person at fault. Perhaps surprisingly, the perpetrator is often caught and arrested.

Many myths about divorce, custody and support are not true

Many common beliefs about divorce are just not true. Whether one resides in Texas or another state, the same common myths about divorce and related issues seem to prevail. There are too many of them to mention here, but there are a few prominent beliefs that stand out.

One of these is the idea that the mother will always get custody of the children. That is an outmoded idea that doesn't cut it in today's world. The father theoretically has just as good a chance as the mother to obtain child custody. The key issue will be which of the parents can best care for the children, considering all of the relevant circumstances that exist. In the same vein, women will sometimes have to pay spousal support or alimony to the man, as in cases where the female earns much more than the male.

Reasons for a child support modification

You've been paying child support for two years since your divorce. You're still very involved with the kids and, in that light, you're happy to help out. No one likes mailing away money every month, but these are your kids and the money helps give them a better life.

A potential change

7 suffer personal injury, are hospitalized after rear-end crash

In Texas as well as elsewhere, the initial media reports on a vehicular accident must be viewed with some skepticism. The details of the accident will be more accurately reported by the authorities after at least preliminary investigations are conducted. Reports about the cause of the accident and the degree of personal injury suffered by the participants are always subject to change due to more accurate findings.

An accident that occurred in Abilene on Thanksgiving Day is an example of sketchy initial reporting that will no doubt be supplemented after further investigation by the police. Media reports indicate that the police at the scene of the accident stated that an SUV was stopped at the intersection of Hwy 36 and Loop 322 when a truck rear-ended it. The police stated that the driver of the truck was in critical condition.

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