14-Year Old Driver of SUV Killed

The beginning of October marks "Fall Break" for many students around the Valley.  Some students use this time to vacation with their families while others spend more time with their friends.  For a 14-year old in Phoenix, however, this Fall Break turned deadly.  

On October 14, 2015, a 14-year old driving an SUV carrying three of his friends sped away from police, which ultimately resulted in the 14-year-old crashing into a neighborhood block wall killing him and seriously injuring his three passengers.  

Police responded to a call about a fight at 2 a.m.  Although police were unable to find the fight, they did notice an SUV driving slowly with no headlights on in the neighborhood.  Officers tried stopping the vehicle, but it sped away.  Officers report that they backed off from the chase turning their emergency lights off when they suddenly heard tires squealing and saw a cloud of dust.  It was then that officers saw the 14-year-old drive through the yards of at least four homes and damage a utility box before hitting a block wall between two homes.  

Police discovered the 14-year-old driver fatally injured inside the vehicle while the other three teens fled on foot.  Police later apprehended one of the teens, also a 14-year-old.  

Police note that the SUV belonged to one of the passenger's parents.  Officers note that it is not uncommon for teens to take their parents' cars without permission, which sometimes lead to tragic results.  Still, officers continue to stress to parents and teens alike that "when you do bad things, bad things happen."  

Even if a child takes his/her parent's vehicle without permission, a parent may be liable.  Known as the vicarious liability doctrine, this legal doctrine states parents may be held legally and financially responsible for the carelessness of their children.  Although the vicarious liability doctrine exist less today in its strict sense, there are many ways parents/teens may be held responsible for damages resulting from a car accident.  For example, if you were involved in an accident involving a teen driver, you may be able to bring a personal injury lawsuit against: (1) the minor directly for his/her careless driving; and/or (2) the minor's parents if they knew or should have known that their child had the propensity to cause the accident.  Because the laws involving teen accidents are somewhat complicated, it is a good idea to consult with an experienced attorney.  If you were recently involved in an accident caused by a teen driver contact the Rubezic Law Group today at 602-487-7076 for a free consultation to understand what your rights and options are.  

Source, the Associated Press, October 14, 2015 at 7:30 a.m.