Considering the reported facts Kayla Gerdes, Drugged Up Teen, Mows Over Woman Mowing Lawn, Say NY Police, if there is any satisfaction for the family of Rebecca Twine-Wright, it may only be had through the criminal justice system.
Ms. Twine-Wright was mowing her Hempstead, NY, lawn this last Tuesday afternoon when she was struck by an out of control construction van driven by an 18 year old, unlicensed driver, Kayla Gerdes. Ms. Gerdes was allegedly high on painkillers as the van careened out of control, went over the lawn, hit the woman and crashed into the house.
The teen was taken into custody at the scene. She begged to be "left alone", saying "it was an accident", a "mistake". She was charged with vehicular manslaughter and other charges relating to the crash. These charges are in addition to others she faces for stealing jewelry from her mother's home to support her drug habit.
It was reported that Ms. Gerdes did not complete a drug rehab program because the insurance would not cover the full 28-day treatment program.
If true, Ms. Gerdes DUI operation of the motor vehicle involved was a "wrongful act, neglect or default" sufficient to support a wrongful death claim. It is also clear that the wrongful, criminal, act caused the woman's death. The Twine-Wright family includes at least one adult son, so it is apparent that a "personal representative" is available to be appointed to bring suit.
However, looking at potential defendants, one would ask if any are capable of paying damages for wrongful death, pain and suffering. Ms. Gerdes, 18 years old, is likely on her way to prison; her ability to pay damages is nil. Her boyfriend may be culpable for allowing the drugged up teen to operate the construction van. The construction company that owns or leases the construction van would claim that it did not give Gerdes permission to drive; also that the use of it was outside the scope of the boyfriend's employment. The liability insurer for the van will disclaim coverage. The insurance company that refused to pay for Ms. Gerdes to complete the 28-day rehab program probably can not be held responsible for causing Ms. Twine-Wright's death.
Thus, there may be no-one available to pay damages for the wrongful death of Ms. Twine-Wright.
She is another innocent casualty of drug abuse.