by: Gaby Moreno / KVEO, Nexstar media cable

Posted: May 7, 2021 / 3:51 PM EDT
Updated: May 7, 2021 / 3:51 PM EDT

June 7, 2020 Photo of a crash involving the Venegas family and an 18-wheeler obstructing Highway 4 when it tried to break into the SpaceX facility around 4 a.m. (Credit: Texas Department of Public Safety

HARLINGEN, Texas (KVEO) – A Texas family has filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against SpaceX following the death of a family member in an off-launch car accident.

On June 7, 2020, the Venegas family of five from San Benito was on a camping trip to the beach when the tide forced them to leave around 4 a.m.

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While driving on Highway 4, they collided with an 18-wheeler that stalled outside the SpaceX facility, resulting in the death of husband and father Carlos Javier Venegas, 35.

Venegas’ wife Lucinne Venegas and their three children suffered injuries to their spine and legs.

The autopsy revealed that Venegas had a “blunt violent trauma from a car accident” as the cause of death.

The family is suing SpaceX for $ 20 million in damages, claiming it was the result of gross negligence on the part of SpaceX.

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Venegas family lawyers say SpaceX failed to equip and upgrade the freeway to cope with the harsh and constant use, according to court documents.

The lawyers said SpaceX should have added adequate lighting, warnings, and procedures to steer obstructive third-party delivery vehicles so beachgoers can safely travel the grounds, especially at night.

They also claimed that SpaceX, rather than the local government, was shouldering the burden of widening the freeway to accommodate the additional traffic load.

In the case of the 18-Wheels involved in the accident, court documents indicated that the freeway was too narrow, too dark and difficult to drive on, and this was likely the reason for the obstruction to the freeway.

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“This was about profits and timing. It wasn’t about security. [SpaceX was] Determined to expedite the construction and opening of his huge business in Boca Chica, which resulted in the death of Mr. Venegas, ”wrote the Venegas lawyers.

SpaceX lawyers alleged this was not the case, saying it was negligence on Venegas’ side that caused the accident.

They wrote that Venegas “did not exercise the care and caution that would have been exercised by persons with normal caution in the same or similar circumstances and therefore acted negligently in the operation in question”.

In this case, KVEO from Nexstar contacted both parties and waited for an answer.

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