As a Missouri wrongful death attorney, I have worked with many grieving families whose loved ones have been taken from them, and I know how devastating the loss of a family member is. That’s why I was sorry to read that a Branson man has been charged with manslaughter in the deaths of two young women. Michael Green, 25, was allegedly drunk when he crashed his car just west of Branson, killing Nicole Porter, 25, and Jessica Jenkins, 24. Green has been charged with a Class B felony for killing both women while driving under the influence of alcohol, with a BAC of .18% or more.
On the night of Monday, Sept. 27, prosecutors say that Green was driving his Pontiac sports car too fast and down the wrong side of the road on Highway 248. He ran a stop sign at Branson Hills Parkway and his car hit a rock embankment and caught fire. Porter and Jenkins were passengers in his car. Both women were taken to hospitals — Jenkins to one in Branson, and Porter to one in Springfield. Sadly, both women died. The Western Taney County Fire District photographed the wrecked car. Police took a blood sample from Green at the scene of the accident.
Jenkins’ sister, Brittany Halstead, 20, said that Jenkins had offered to drive so that Green would not have to. Medical personnel at the Branson hospital where Jenkins died that night told the family that Jenkins had no alcohol or drugs in her system. Jenkins was an organ donor, and her family hopes that people will learn from their tragedy. Jenkins’s mother told her daughters’ friends how much pain she was in, and Halstead told them, “Let this be a lesson. Do not drink and drive and do not get in the vehicle if the driver is drunk because it’s the innocent that suffer.”
It’s especially sad to me as a St. Louis auto accident attorney to know that this accident could have been prevented if Green had allowed Jenkins to drive. Driving drunk and refusing to allow an unimpaired driver to take the wheel are well beyond the boundaries of responsible behavior — in fact, they’re good examples of the kind of negligence that is an issue in my cases. If Green is convicted of the criminal charges he faces, he will be sentenced for breaking the law. But he may also face lawsuits from the Porter and Jenkins families for taking their daughters away from them. When someone behaves negligently and hurts someone else, the negligent person can be required to pay for the harm that they caused. Even with court cases, families of car crash victims will never get their loved ones back, and their lives will never be the same. But through wrongful death and personal injury lawsuits, they can hold drivers responsible for the emotional — and sometimes financial — consequences of their actions.
People who have been hurt in accidents like this one should contact a southern Illinois car wreck lawyer at Carey, Danis & Lowe for help immediately. Victims of preventable drunk-driving tragedies like this one can require the negligent driver — or the driver’s insurance company — to pay for medical costs, funeral costs and lost income as well as compensation for their lost quality of life. If you were involved in an accident, you need an attorney on your side from the start to help preserve evidence, ask the right questions, and meet all the required deadlines to make sure you can recover compensation for your pain, suffering, and costs. For a free consultation, please call us at 1-877-678-3400, toll-free. You can also email us to set up a meeting.