Author Archives: stoddardfirm

Airport Luggage Belt

It Took Only Seconds for a Toddler to Slip into Hartsfield-Jackson’s Luggage Chute

If you ever traveled by air when you were a child, you probably remember entertaining at least a thought or two about the system of chutes and belts that carry luggage from place to place at the airport. You might have been afraid of getting swept away by those conveyor belts, or wondered where you’d end up if you tagged along for the ride. Well, this July at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, one 2-year-old did more than wonder. In the moments while his mother was printing her boarding pass, Lorenzo Vega climbed onto a luggage conveyor belt in front of an unstaffed ticket counter and was carried out of reach before she could catch up with him. While this might sound like a harmless misadventure, the…

Propane Explosion

Was Tugalo Gas Responsible for a Fatal Explosion in White County?

When Edgar Brummett stopped by his daughter’s house to check on a heating system that had been acting up, he was greeted by a propane explosion powerful enough to level the house and damage seven others, knocking some of them off their foundations. It was the last thing the 71-year-old family man would ever see. Neighbors who came to offer aid reported finding nothing where the house once stood but debris and the remains of the propane tank. The blast could be felt from as far as 30 miles away. A cursory investigation of the site only confirmed that the explosion was propane-related, but media interviews with the surviving family members later revealed more to the story. The Family Says They Had Already Reported a…

gripping-bus-steering-wheel

Pickup Driver Killed in Head-On Collision with MARTA Bus

In Fulton County, on September 6th, the driver of a pickup truck crossed the center lane of Roosevelt Highway and veered into oncoming traffic. The pickup collided head-on with a MARTA bus, killing the pickup driver and injuring the bus driver. Thankfully, there were no passengers aboard the bus at the time, and no one else was injured, though the highway did need to be shut down to facilitate an investigation. It’s not clear what caused the pickup driver to swerve into the bus’s lane. Drivers Need to Take Care When Maneuvering Around Buses Even though the bus driver was not at fault, according to police, this collision is one of a long, ongoing pattern of MARTA-involved accidents. Only a day after the Roosevelt Highway…

Semi-Trailer Fatally Collides with a Parked Fire Engine in Douglas County

In the early hours of the morning on September 22nd, a semi-trailer struck a parked fire engine in the right lane of the I-20 in Douglas County. The driver of the semi was killed on impact, while the two firefighters inside the fire engine escaped unharmed, likely because they were still wearing their seatbelts, according to local officials. At the time of the accident, the fire engine was blocking off the right lane to protect emergency responders who were attempting to rescue a driver from a previous wreck. That driver had to be taken to a local hospital, but is expected to recover. Drivers Are Required to Move Over for Emergency Vehicles As tragic as his death is, the driver of the semi is probably…

Another Fourth of July, Another Flood of Fireworks Injuries

When the sun sets on July Fourth, it’s always a safe bet that emergency rooms will soon be inundated with patients suffering from burns, eye injuries, and concussive trauma. This year, one hospital in Augusta treated 30 separate fireworks injuries, accounting for more than two-thirds of their patient arrivals for the day. Summer may be behind us now, but for many of those who were involved in fireworks-related accidents on the Fourth of July, the results will last a lifetime. One 18-year-old in Georgia had to have his hand amputated after a firework went off while he was holding it. As a result, he may never again be able to play football or basketball, two of his favorite things. Even so, he was lucky when…

Can You Sue a Security Guard?

Have you ever wondered, “Can you sue a security guard?” The answer is, yes.  You can sue a security guard if he or she assaulted or harmed you and you were not threatening them. Because security guards are not law enforcement officers, they do not have the same rights that police officers do. Security guards cannot physically touch citizens beyond what is defined as “minimally necessary” to stop a crime or prevent a dangerous or unlawful situation. When wondering whether or not you can sue a security guard, remember that a guard’s role is to ensure safety, but not at the expense of your legal rights. The one exception to this is self-defense (which is the exception that every citizen possesses whether a security guard…

Gun on table

The Fatal Shooting of a Doraville Teen Might Have Been Preventable

On the afternoon of July 19th, in one of the recreational common areas of Foxwood Apartments in Doraville, 17-year-old Gerardo Cabrera-Perez was shot multiple times in the head, abdomen, and leg. He was then taken to a local hospital, where he died of his injuries. A 19-year-old suspect, Carlos Bernal, is now charged with his murder. As usual, in the midst of the grief over Cabrera-Perez’s loss, and the confusion over Bernal’s motives, few people are talking about what Foxwood Apartments could have done to keep its complex safer. Gun Violence in Doraville Is Not Uncommon This is not a case of a shocking anomaly in a normally peaceful neighborhood. The city of Doraville is less than seven miles across, but its residents have already…

lake

Lake Lanier Probably Isn’t Haunted, But It’s Definitely Unsafe

Over the course of each year, more than 7.5 million people turn out to swim, boat, picnic, and otherwise enjoy Georgia’s beautiful Lake Lanier. Unfortunately, not all of them will make it home alive. Stories of drownings, other accidents, and mysterious disappearances on and around the lake have become so commonplace that many now believe it to be haunted or cursed. Of course, tellers of ghost stories tend not to be the most reliable historians or devotees of the scientific method. In fact, one of the most popular origin stories for this supposed haunting is some kind of unspecified large-scale accident on the lake in 1903, even though this man-made lake didn’t even exist before 1950. In reality, when people disappear on a lake, the…

Bicyclists Have the Right to Use Atlanta Roads without Fearing for Their Lives

Bicycles are a healthy, economical, environmentally friendly way of getting around over short distances. They also reduce the number of cars in use at any given time, which can help relieve congestion on well-designed roads. Unfortunately, Atlanta’s roads are far from well-designed in many places, which has led to social conflicts and deadly collisions between motorists and cyclists. Accidents Involving Bicycles Have Risen Drastically A study by the Atlanta Regional Commission, spanning the years 2006 through 2015, reveals a sharp 53% increase in collisions involving pedestrians or bicyclists during that time. Upon further investigation, the Commission also discovered that 71% of all traffic fatalities in the city were occurring on just 6% of its streets: the low-income areas on the west side, including Peachtree Street…

Drivers Have a Duty to Share the Road with E-Scooter Riders

The controversy surrounding the e-scooter micro-mobility trend has come to a tragic head in Atlanta in recent months. While the pros and cons of alternative vehicles, and the challenges of incorporating them safely and efficiently into the flow of traffic, have been subjects of heated debate since before e-scooters were even introduced, a recent string of deaths involving the devices has prompted new restrictions, new outrage, and new discussion. On July 17th, 2019, a scooter rider was run over by a bus at the corner of 15th and West Peachtree. Passengers on the bus say they heard the rider, Brad Alexander, pounding on the side of the bus to alert the driver to his presence, but she didn’t notice. Once a passenger got her attention,…