Rodriguez v. The United States of America

On November 14, 2006, a retired US Army veteran, Jesse Albert Rodriguez, was riding his motorcycle in Fort Hood, Texas. He was returning to work after lunch and was wearing a helmet and a reflective vest. As he approached the intersection of Hell on Wheels Avenue and 56th Street, a US Army Dodge utility van failed to yield the right of way. As the van pulled in front, it impacted Rodriguez’s motorcycle. Rodriguez flipped over his handlebars and went under the truck and was dragged. The truck then stopped on top of his body. As the driver exited the van, he saw the rear tire on top of Rodriguez, so he got back in the van and backed up. Unfortunately, Rodriguez’s clothing got caught in the van’s wheel, and he was pulled back up off the asphalt and into the frame of the van. Witnesses helped to free Rodriguez from the van and noted that he was aware of the time and place and was stating that he could not breathe.

Rodriguez suffered massive internal trauma with injuries to his liver, spleen, and heart and fractures of his sternum, most of his ribs and his left leg. He died as a result of the severe nature of his injuries. The autopsy revealed that he eventually drowned in his own blood but was awake and alert much of the time that he was dying. According to a medic who was on the scene before the EMS arrived, Rodriguez knew his name and was aware of what had happened to him after the accident. He continued to try to stand up and said, “I can’t breathe” repeatedly.

Slack Davis Sanger represented the family of Jesse Rodriguez in their wrongful death suit against the United States government, securing a settlement for his grieving wife and three adult daughters.

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