HARLINGEN, Texas (KVEO) – A family from the Rio Grande Valley filed a $ 20 million lawsuit against SpaceX following the death of a family member in a car accident off the company’s launch site.

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On June 7, 2020, a camping trip to the beach turned into a nightmare for the Venegas family in San Benito.

The rising tide forced the family of five to leave Boca Chica Beach at around 4 a.m.

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, Lucienne Venegas, and three minor children sustained injuries to their spine and legs.

The autopsy found that Venegas’ cause of death “was a blunt force trauma caused by a motor vehicle accident”.

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The family is suing SpaceX for $ 20 million in damages, claiming it was not an accident but gross negligence on behalf of SpaceX.

Buzbee law firm represents Venegas’ wife, his estate and their three minor children.

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.

In addition, SpaceX, and not the local government, is required to widen the highway to accommodate the additional traffic load.

In the case of the 18-wheeler that the Venegas family bumped into, the court documents found that the highway was too narrow, dark and difficult to drive on, which likely resulted in it blocking the highway.

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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 is represented by Roerig, Oliveira & Fisher, LLP, and they claim it is not.

Lawyers claim it was Venegas’ negligence that caused the accident.

They write that Venegas “did not exercise the 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.”

ValleyCentral has reached out to both parties on this issue and will update with additional information as soon as a response is received. We will provide updates as the case develops.