A jury in Robertson County has awarded four families a little over $3 million in a civil suit over their loved ones' fatal car accident on Highway 6.
Three teens from the Twin Cities and a Clear Lake man died in September 2006 in a southern Brazos County portion of the highway under construction. The families had claimed three construction companies were neglegent in the accident.
A construction truck was stopped in the left lane of the undivided, four-lane highway waiting to make a turn onto the construction site off the highway. With a pair of cars stopped behind that truck, a dump truck unrelated to the construction plowed into the backs of the cars, then slid into oncoming traffic and hit another car.
Attorneys for the plaintiffs claimed the construction company was at fault for not picking safer entry points onto their construction site, though the defense had argued TxDOT had signed off on that particular entry. The defense also claimed the driver of the dump truck that started the wreck was at fault and was driving a poorly maintained vehicle.
The jury decided one of the subcontractors, Young Brothers, was not negligent, but lead contractor T.J. Lambrecht and subcontractor W.W. Webber would be responsible for paying a portion of the awarded $3 million.
The driver of the dump truck, Derrick Mitag, was also found responsible, as was the truck's owner.
TxDOT was also found neglegent, but as what's known as a "responsible third party" in the proceedings (as added by the defense), they will not pay any of the settlement.
Those killed in the accident and the amount their respective estates will receive according to the judgment are:
- Sarah Alexandra Nichols, 17, of Bryan ($717,500)
- Bruce Edward King II, 18, of College Station ($600,000)
- Bryson Thompson, 18, of Bryan ($105,300)
- Augustin Hernandez, 32, of Deer Park ($1.609 million)