Widow files wrongful death suit against ATV driver, owners

Kelly Holleran Mar. 28, 2011, 5:24am

A Comal County woman has filed suit against the driver of an all-terrain vehicle she blames for causing her husband's death.

Carla French McCauley claims her recently deceased husband, Joseph Lavelle McCauley, was riding on a 2010 red Polaris Ranger Rzr ATV on Nov. 25 when his death occurred.

As Joseph McCauley was riding on the ATV, the driver of the vehicle, defendant Richard Kristopher Miskin, lost his hat near 2614 Lakeshore Drive in Canyon Lake, according to the complaint filed March 14 in Jefferson County District Court.

Abruptly after losing the hat, Miskin turned into a gravel driveway and sped up, the suit states. However, he could not get traction and his ATV continued to spin, veered back onto the road and flipped onto its right side, the complaint says.

"Mr. McCauley was ejected onto the roadway causing him to hit his head on the asphalt," the suit states. "As a result of the traumatic head injuries he sustained, Mr. McCauley died."

Because of her husband's death, Carla McCauley claims she lost his consortium, household services, society and companionship and suffered mental anguish. In addition, she incurred funeral and burial costs, according to the complaint.

Miskin negligently failed to control his speed, failed to control the ATV, failed to use proper evasive action and drove without due regard for the rights of others, the suit states.

In addition to Miskin, Marleis and Ryan Menchaca are named as defendants because they owned the ATV Miskin drove at the time of the incident, breaching their duty to not entrust their vehicle to an incompetent driver, the complaint says.

In her complaint, Carla McCauley is seeking an unspecified judgment within the jurisdictional limits of Jefferson County District Court, plus pre-judgment interest at the legal rate, costs and other relief the court deems just.

Tim Maloney and Paul Campolo of the Law Offices of Maloney and Campolo in San Antonio will be representing her.

The case has been assigned to Judge Milton Shuffield, 136th District Court.

Case No. D189-588

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