In June 2020, Carlos and Lucinne Venegas took their three children camping on the beach. Rising tides forced them to end their trip early and hit the road before the sun rose. Little did they know that an 18-wheeler stalled outside of SpaceX’s facility would change their lives forever.
The family vehicle crashed into the 18-wheeler, leading to spinal and leg injuries for Mrs. Venegas and all three children. Unfortunately, the blunt force trauma of the crash killed Mr. Venegas.
What exactly led to this crash, though? There is a difference of opinion on that matter. The Venegas family sought legal counsel that claims negligence of SpaceX’s part and filed a $20 million lawsuit.
SpaceX denies any responsibility and places all blame on the Venegas family. The company states that any driver using a reasonable amount of care could have avoided this crash.
The Venegas’s attorneys disagree. They say that Highway 4 – the location where the crash occurred – is a busy, dark, and narrow area, one that is not suitable for deliveries. Due to this, no amount of caution – especially when it’s dark or with people unfamiliar with the area – would be enough to stay safe.
The attorneys’ claim of negligence is based on the belief that the company should have practiced a reasonable amount of care itself. If SpaceX is going to have delivery vehicles stalled on the highway, they should make the necessary updates to that highway.
Those updates should include widening the area, posting warnings, and making sure it’s well-lit enough that drivers can safely navigate through the zone. And attorneys say that had they not rushed to build the facility, SpaceX might have taken the necessary steps to address these issues – or created a different delivery avenue into their facility.
SpaceX was eventually cleared of responsibility, however, as the crash didn’t occur on the company’s property but on a public highway. Additionally, the 18-wheeler in question was not a SpaceX vehicle – it was a third-party delivery driver and vehicle. The resigning judge stated that the company had no reason to think this driver would not safely perform his duties.
Regardless of who lies at fault, a father is dead, a mother and her children are injured, and their lives are forever changed. Hopefully, this story will be a reminder to everyone – families, companies, and drivers, alike – to be cautious and vigilant at all times.