Sand Suffocation Case Ends With $80 Million Judgment

A 2002 sand suffocation case ended with a judgment for $80 million. Laura Miera was killed when a Redi-Mix truck dumped a load of sand on her vehicle. Miera’s family claims the driver’s negligence and the truck’s disrepair contributed to her tragic death.

On the day of the accident, Miera had just dropped her daughter off at Jimmy Carter Middle School. The 48-year-old woman was stopped at a traffic light when the tractor-trailer slammed into her car. In the impact, her vehicle was crushed between the truck and the curb.

The accident caused the truck’s load of sand to spill onto Miera’s vehicle. Witnesses, including teachers and students from the school, tried to help. Unfortunately, there was little they could do.

As reported by ABC News, the school counselor tried to console Miera as the sand filled her car. The Miera family’s attorney, Jacob Vigil, said the counselor held the woman’s hand and prayed until she stopped responding.

Attorney Vigil said he and Miera’s family hope the judgment will raise awareness. The Redi-Mix truck was being operated with faulty brakes and an expired registration. Vigil said unsafe semis are a “chronic problem” that lead to “thousands and thousands of trucking deaths every year.”

The owners of Redi-Mix denied charges that their truck was unsafe. They said they and the truck were compliant with all state and federal regulations.

New Mexico District Judge Shannon Bacon agreed with Attorney Vigil. Albuquerque Redi-Mix, Quintana Enterprises Inc, owners John and Barbara Quintana, and driver Truman Bahe, were ordered to pay the family $80 million. The judgement includes “$60 million in punitive damages,” as Miera suffered a “slow and painful death.”

Myrtle Beach Online reports that the Miera family is not prepared to make a statement as they are “pretty broken up” and “still grieving.” Although the sand suffocation case is finally resolved, the family is still mourning.

[Image via Shutterstock]

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