Driver Who Killed Three Girls on Halloween May Face More Than Jail Time

Dining room, AlcatrazMaria Gonzalez told her daughter Andrea she would give her and her friends a ride, but the girls insisted on waking. Minutes later the family heard a crash outside, and the girls were taken from their lives forever.

This was the heartbreaking end to three teenagers’ lives on Halloween night. The girls were going trick-or-treating in their costumes when Jaquinn Ramone Bell, a driver with a troubled criminal record, allegedly struck them at high speed—and continued driving.

Originally the three girls had not planned to go out together on Halloween, but when Andrea Gonzalez found out that her friends, twins Lexi and Lexandra Perez Huerta, had no plans for the holiday, she invited them to come with her. All three girls were 13.

After hearing the crash, Andrea’s family ran outside. Her sister recognized her body by the costume and black tutu she was wearing. Only seconds had passed since the impact, but there was no sign of the car that hit them.

Bell got away that night, but was arrested at a motel two days later. The hit-and-run was not his first scrape with the law. He has a record including a previous hit-and-run charge, child endangerment charges, and domestic battery against his ex-wife. Two of Bell’s own children were in his car when he allegedly hit the girls.

This opens the question of what should happen to a man who seemingly has a pattern of putting other people at risk—and has now allegedly taken the lives of three teens. Felony hit-and-run causing death has now been added to the charges he already faces, and if convicted will likely result in a long prison term. Even so, Bell could eventually be released.

This is where wrongful death lawsuits become much more than just a means of compensation, and become a tool of justice unto themselves. Civil law allows that families of victims may sue over a death, and these lawsuits are about much more than just money. While they do provide help to families struggling to pay final costs, a wrongful death lawsuit also goes a step further: it forces the person responsible to pay for their actions regardless of how much or little jail time they get.

There is no replacement for the lives of a beloved daughter, let alone three best friends who just wanted to go trick-or-treating. But a wrongful death suit is a form of restorative justice that can help families feel closure and see responsibility put where it belongs.

If your family has lost a loved one to someone else’s reckless actions, learn more about how Milligan, Beswick, Levine & Knox can help you.

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