January 27, 2015 — A jury in Santa Fe, New Mexico has awarded $165 million to the family of a woman and child who were killed when a FedEx truck slammed into their vehicle.
The horrific incident occurred on June 22, 2011, at about 1:30 in the morning. Mariali Venegas, a 22 year-old mother from El Paso, Texas, was driving a pickup truck on I-10 with her 4 year-old daughter and 19 month-old son.
Venegas had reportedly pulled over to the side of the road near Las Cruces, New Mexico. Her hazard lights were on, but a FedEx truck slammed into the back of the truck at 65 mph.
The FedEx truck showed no signs of braking, according to KRQE News. FexEx driver Elizabeth Quintana died in the accident. The only survivor was Venegas’s young son.
Attorneys for the Venegas family said they hope the verdict sends a message to FedEx to improve driver training, especially for “danger zone driving” between midnight and 6 a.m.:
“They need to be responsible for their actions. The entire time, from the very beginning, they have denied responsibility and tried to pass responsibility off on someone else.”
FedEx company spokesman Jack Pfeiffer said the company “respectfully” disagrees with the verdict. They are planning to explore their options, including appeal. The $165 million judgement is a record-setting award for wrongful death in New Mexico, according to the family’s attorneys.
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