$11 Million Settlement Reached in Wrongful Death Case on Behalf of Grieving Family
The families of two men killed in a 2015 crash near Odessa, Texas, have reached an $11 million settlement with the company that employed the driver involved in the crash, attorney Jamie Moncusof Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton, LLP announced today.
The families of John Reynolds of Vicksburg, Mississippi and Tommy Rivers of Fort Worth,
Texas sued Corpus Christi-based Sage Enviro Tech, LTD and its employee, Hector Botello Jr., in Nueces County Court earlier this year. Sage Enviro Tech was accused of negligently allowing Botello, who had a history of mental illness and alcohol abuse, to drive for the company.
Botello was driving for Sage Enviro Tech when his Dodge Ram pickup crossed the median of
Interstate 20 in Odessa and collided head-on with the pickup carrying Reynolds and Rivers.
Botello suffered non-life-threatening injuries in the crash. Reynolds and Rivers died at the
scene. They were both returning from a “battle of the bands” event organized by the men in El Paso, which they started as a fundraiser to benefit historically black colleges across
the United States.
Although Botello was not charged with any violations or crimes, the police incident report listed his “long-term alcoholism” and “anxiety condition” as contributing factors in the crash.
The lawsuit accused Sage Enviro Tech of recklessly failing to consider Botello’s history when
entrusting him to drive a vehicle for the company. Botello had a DWI conviction in California
in 2009. Sage was alleged to have known that Botello had a history of alcoholism and mental illness when he was hired as a driver.
“A simple background check could have prevented such a tragedy,” said Jamie Moncus of
Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton, LLP. “We recently marked the third Christmas that the families of John Reynolds and Tommy Rivers were without their husbands and fathers, all because of a
company’s failure to be careful in hiring drivers. It is our hope that this settlement provides
needed support to families whose loved ones were taken from them far too soon.”
The wrongful death lawsuit was filed by Reynolds’ widow Krystle Reynolds, his parents, James and Clara Reynolds, and Rivers’ daughter, Kelsey Rivers, as well as the estates of the two men on behalf of Reynolds’ two children and Rivers’ child.
Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton, LLP attorney Jamie Moncus and attorneys
Michael Simpson and Kim Jones of Simpson and Simpson represented the Reynolds and Rivers families.