by: Gaby Moreno / KVEO, Nexstar Media Wire
Posted: May 7, 2021 / 2:45 PM EDT
Updated: May 7, 2021 / 2:45 PM EDT
June 7, 2020 Photo of a crash with the Venegas family and an 18-wheeler blocking Highway 4 as it tries to break into the SpaceX facility around 4 a.m. (Photo 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 at around 4 a.m.
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While driving on Highway 4, they came across an 18-wheel vehicle that stalled in front of the SpaceX facility, resulting in the death of husband and father Carlos Javier Venegas, 35.
Venegas’ wife, Lucinne Venegas, and her three children sustained injuries to their spine and legs.
The autopsy found that Venegas’ cause of death “was a blunt force trauma caused by a car accident”.
The family is suing SpaceX for $ 20 million in damages, alleging it was due to gross negligence on behalf of SpaceX.
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Venegas family lawyers state that SpaceX did not equip and upgrade the freeway to accommodate its high and constant usage, as evidenced by court documents.
Lawyers said SpaceX should have added adequate lighting, warnings, and procedures to direct disruptive third-party delivery vehicles so beachgoers can safely drive around the construction site, especially at night.
They also claimed that SpaceX, rather than the local government, had the burden of widening the freeway to accommodate the additional traffic load.
In the case of the 18-wheeler involved in the crash, court documents said the freeway was too narrow, dark and difficult to drive on, and this likely caused it to block the freeway.
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“This was about profit and timing. It wasn’t about security. [SpaceX was] determined to expedite the construction and opening of his massive Boca Chica business and it resulted in the death of Mr. Venegas, ”the Venegas lawyers wrote.
SpaceX lawyers claimed it did not, saying it was Venegas’ negligence that caused the accident.
They wrote that Venegas “did not exercise the level of care and caution that would have been exercised by those with normal caution in the same or similar circumstances and was therefore negligent in the operation in question”.
In this case, Nexstars KVEO contacted both parties and waited for an answer.