Authorities in Teton County, Montana intend to step up enforcement of stop sign laws at an intersection that has seen more than its share of serious accidents recently. The County Sheriff and County Attorney have spoken out recently about their frustration at drivers ignoring the stop sign that controls the intersection of U.S. Highway 89 and a secondary highway. The Sheriff says he is going to increase patrols at the intersection and that drivers who make no attempt to stop will face serious charges.
The intersection became locally notorious last year after an accident in which the driver of another car failed to yield the right of way at the stop sign. A 14-year-old girl suffered a severe brain injury in that wreck. The girl now resides in a nursing home. She can no longer feed herself or communicate with others.
The driver who failed to stop pleaded no contest to a charge of felony endangerment and was recently sentenced to seven years in prison, five years of which he must serve and two years of which were suspended. The mother of the injured girl expressed anger and disappointment to the County Attorney recently when yet another accident took place at the same intersection, sending two people to the hospital. The driver in that case allegedly went through the stop sign at about 25 miles per hour without even attempting to stop.
Brain injuries are among the most devastating consequences that can result from a car accident. The medical expenses arising from the necessary rehabilitation and long-term care can be staggering. No amount of money can make a severely brain-injured person whole again. But when the accident is caused by another driver’s negligence, a civil lawsuit can provide some financial relief to the victim and the family.
Source: Choteau Acantha, “County to get tough on bad drivers,” Melody Martinsen, Nov. 7, 2012