Washington Woman Chases Husband With Meat Tenderizer and Then Lays Across Road . . .Only To Be Run Over By Drunk Driver

imagesThere are some cases that seem right out of a tort exam. This is one.  In Kent, Washington, a woman chased her husband outside with a meat tenderizer after an argument.  After he crossed a road, she decided to lay down across the road. She was then run over by a drunk driver, who was later arrested.

Clearly the woman was contributory (or comparably) negligent in laying across the road.  However, that does not matter for the criminal charges because the driver of the Ford Expedition blew a .21 on a blood test, well above the limit of .08 BAL.  He is therefore accused of a fatality while driving drunk.

In torts, it gets a bit more difficult.  He was negligent per se in driving drunk. However, she was also negligent in laying across the road.  Indeed, she may also be negligent per se in violating road rules.  Even a sober driver might not have been able to see her in time. In a modified comparative negligence jurisdiction, a jury could find her more at fault and, if over 50 percent at fault, bar recovery. (I a pure comparative negligence jurisdiction, damages would simply be reduced by her percentage of fault in terms of recovery by her estate).

Under contributory negligence, a plaintiff can be barred due to any negligence of their part. There are two exceptions recognized by the courts:  the helpless plaintiff and the inattentive plaintiff.  The helpless plaintiff occurs when the plaintiff negligently placed himself in a situation of peril from which he was physically unable to remove himself, but the defendant saw, or should have seen the plaintiff to have avoided the accident.  In the second exception, a plaintiff negligently placed himself in a situation of peril in which he was physically able to remove himself from the situation but was unaware of his peril. In that case, a defendant is still liable if he actually saw the plaintiff and could have avoided the accident by using ordinary care.

Thus, in this case, the driver might have defense in torts but primarily have mitigating arguments on sentencing in criminal law.

44 thoughts on “Washington Woman Chases Husband With Meat Tenderizer and Then Lays Across Road . . .Only To Be Run Over By Drunk Driver”

  1. The last time WW3 chased me out of the kitchen she had an 18″ butcher’s knife. I tripped over the garden hose and went flying when she swang at my head and got blasted with red water.

  2. I have questions. The victim is deceased. Therefore, any civil judgement passes to the victim’s heirs as the damaged party which, I assume, includes the victim’s husband.

    Can the court consider the husband’s contribution to the victim’s negligence? The driver was negligent, the victim was negligent but did the victim’s husband contribute to her negligence and/or fail to mitigate the driver’s negligence?

    Because he was present at the time of the incident, did he fail to intervene in a manner that could have prevented the incident, i.e., removed or caused his wife to be removed from the street before she was hit by a vehicle? Could he have protected her from bodily harm by standing over her to wave his arms and thereby warn drivers of the danger? The answers have a direct bearing on the estate’s damage claims.

    In the State of Washington, the court can find that the pedestrian acted in some way that caused or contributed to the accident, and may, therefore, limit the pedestrian’s potential settlement. So, if the pedestrian was 30 percent responsible for the accident, they can only receive 70 percent of the would-be settlement. It seems to me there may be up to 3 negligent parties in this situation.

    1. Blaine McAvoy – yes, if the husband had just stopped long enough to let the wife beat him to death with the meat tenderizer, she would not have laid down on the road. I blame it all on the husband now. Suicide by car with comtributory negligence by the husband by not dying like he should.

      1. She was laying on the road. So, how is she supposed to beat him from that position assuming she would have even tried to strike him? The events as presented never implied she struck him. It says she chased him from the house with a meat tenderizer.

        1. Blaine McAvoy – if it weren’t for his toxic masculinity and white privilege, he would have stopped and allowed her to bash him to death. You can clearly see it is all his fault.

          1. I’m slow but finally catching on.

            The pairing of “toxic” with “masculinity” and “white” with “privilege” is purposeful and has a basis in psychology. It is a way to create a negative stereotype by word association.

            One typically associates masculinity with men. Nothing wrong with being male but when paired with the term “toxic” and repeated frequently it becomes a subliminal method of negatively stereotyping men. Leftists may claim that the term “toxic masculinity” only defines those males who treat women violently but they know there is an ulterior motive in their word associations.

            The same is true of “white” and “privilege”. Pair the racial group “whites” with a term that connotes a sense of undue entitlement, i.e., “privilege”, and the result is a negative stereotype.

            After people are conditioned to the negative stereotypes, additional combinations can be crafted to suit the left’s purposes. When followers are conditioned to the negative inferences about “men’ and “whites”, those terms can then be associated with other words to create additional negative stereotypes. Viola! Now, we have “old white men”. Age, race, and gender are combined to evoke negative feelings from their followers.

  3. Here’s a case for your classes to tackle, Jonathan:

    What are the odds?

    “Limo company owner was a controversial FBI informant”

    https://apnews.com/3f1cde80ad0b48759ddc82cabb492c87

    “He drove a BMW and other luxury vehicles provided by the FBI to maintain his cover. He also made hundreds of hours of video and audio tapes of the defendants picking targets for jihad and ranting against Jews. His cooperation resulted in the conviction of four men in a thwarted plot to attack synagogues and shoot down military planes.

    “But Hussain’s work also came under attack by defense attorneys and civil liberties groups as entrapment. They portrayed him as a master manipulator who entrapped a crew of aimless nobodies while earning $96,000 for his work.

    “Even U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon said at sentencing that she was not proud of the government’s role in the plot.

    ““I believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that there would have been no crime here except the government instigated it, planned it and brought it to fruition,” McMahon said. She added, “That does not mean there was no crime.”

    “According to his own trial testimony, Hussain first entered the U.S. in Texas with his wife and two sons in the 1990s and went to Albany, where he received asylum. In April 2003, he was working as a government translator when he pleaded guilty to a federal fraud charge for helping someone get their driver’s license illegally.

    “He got a sentence that required no more jail time by working as an FBI informant.”

    1. “the conviction of four men in a thwarted plot to attack synagogues and shoot down military planes.” “who entrapped a crew of aimless nobodies while earning $96,000 for his work.”

      Apparently, they were convicted for something. Whether they were aimless stooges or undercover terrorists, they were capable of murder and widespread destruction, I suppose?

      This will send a message to nobodies and big shots alike: plot to harm innocent Americans or damage our capacity to defend ourselves and you may be planning your own ruin.

  4. This sounds like a suicide. She clearly was having a bad go of it. She either lay across the road to get the attention of her husband. If you don’t do X, I guess I’ll just end it all. Or she intended to end it all, selfishly causing another person the pain of having been the instrument she used to committ suicide.

    It was extremely selfish of her to lie across the road. She could have killed someone else. There could have been a kid in that car. This is an example of how stupid fights can escalate completley out of hand.

    One would hope that, had a car not come along, she might have calmed down and come ot her senses. But it’s too late for that now. What a waste of life.

    I hate drunk drivers, but I do not blame the driver for her death, nor do I think her estate should get a dime out of him. She purposefully created a road hazard that could have killed him. He’s lucky he survived her selfish stunt. He should only be found guilty of drunk driving, with zero added to his sentence for her death. Sorry, but when someone lies down on purpose in the road, that’s a suicide. He should get the DUI, and hopefully this will scare him sober.

    1. “It was extremely selfish of her to lie across the road. She could have killed someone else. There could have been a kid in that car. This is an example of how stupid fights can escalate completley out of hand.”

      Note to Senator Dianne Feinstein: next time when you initiate a fight for a SCOTUS nomination, lay across the road and see if that helps your cause. You can throw Maxine Waters on the road ahead of you as a trial run

    2. “. He should only be found guilty of drunk driving, with zero added to his sentence for her death. ”

      Karen, aside from the drunk’s history, the question In my mind is the legal definition of drunk driving in the state where this occurred. There is such a thing as felony murder, a death during the comission of a crime is felony murder.

      1. Felony murder in New York applies to murders undertaken in the course of robberies, burglaries, kidnapping, &c. It doesn’t apply to reckless driving. I’ll wager most other states are the same.

        1. DSS, it wasn’t generic wreckless driving rather drunk driving (without specific circumstances known to us) and that is why one needs to know state law to be sure. It could be considered manslaughter but it is difficult to assess without knowing state law.

  5. When I read the headline the first thought that came to my mind was that Hillary had chased Bill with a meat cleaver, and she decided, in yet another moment of self pity, to lay on the road for attention

    Pity it wasn’t the case 😘

  6. Criminal liability is assessed by asking whether the driver’s intoxication was a substantial factor in causing the woman’s death. As far as a wrongful death case by her heirs, as a practical matter, good luck.

  7. Professor Turley since you say “There are some cases that seem right out of a tort exam.”, to be complete, would the question also include the right of the driver to sue the womans estate for damage to his truck?

    1. Yes, this does sound like a question from my tort exam. Although I think mine had a fire that burnt down houses too.

    2. Allan – you missed emotional damages against the woman’s estate. She clearly committed suicide by car.

      1. Paul C……that would be awful……..Maybe she was drunk? I’ve heard that women want less violent deaths than men??

  8. Down here in Texas we have another doctrine that would probably keep the wife’s estate from the money of the drunk driver. It is assumed risk. To illustrate, if you hired John Wesley Hardin as your lawyer (after he got out of prison) and got into a fight with him, you would have assumed the risk of getting blown away since everyone knows that Hardin once killed a man for snoring too loud. By laying down in a roadway with vehicular traffic, I think it is fair to say she assumed the risk of getting run over. Then again, there is the drunk driver….

  9. Dead lady was probably a cigarette smoker. Guns are quicker lady but laying in the road worked pretty well.

  10. “Negligence”? When you purposely do something you are not just negligent. A person who stands in front of a shooting target during target practice is not negligent. Or “not just negligent”. A person who intentionally puts himself in deaths’ way is a suicidal maniac. Now the nitwit might claim mental defect. But the person who is at the target range and fires just before nitwit steps in front of the bullet is not at fault.

    So. Turley. Let us have a discussion of negligence and purposeful conduct. Jeso.

  11. Lying across a roadway at night after committing a domestic battery probably dusquaifies your estate from tort recovery even with a DUI driver as the instrument of death but, on the bright side, it surely does qualify you for the Darwin Award. Here’s one gene donator thankfully culled from the herd.

  12. Jonathan Turley, not on any other Washington state news source that I can find after considerable looking. Q13 is the Seattle area Faux Neuz station. Are you sure that this isn’t just faux neuz to fill a slow spot?

    1. David – The news station cites the Kent, WA police report as its source, so I don’t believe this could be “fake news.”

        1. We don’t fail to appreciate David Benson’s status signalling among the other faculty wankers in Pullman.

          1. I am long retired and in any case write solely for myself.

            Only the Faculty Senate can speak for the entire faculty and that only on a narrow range of issues. This is typical in countries with Western values.

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