Vehicular Homicide Due to Worn Rear Brakes

On November 26th, 2016, Peter Tuaau was walking near Interstate 5 in Tacoma, Washington when he was struck by a Cadillac Escalade and died. The SUV continued on and struck a utility pole. The police investigating the fatal accident found that the rear brakes were worn and the caliper had suffered a hydraulic failure. A mechanic testified during the trial that the brake were probably making noise long before the crash.

If a driver ignores the condition of their brakes, they should be held accountable in a court of law.

Last week, Kevin Lee Cochran was sentenced to 90 days for the vehicular homicide. But, Cochran had served more than 374 days when he was brought into court to determine his competency to stand trial.

The most difficult aspect of these criminal cases is courts and police still have an antiquated view of the destructive power and sophistication of the modern vehicle. When the vehicular homicide laws were written, brake failure was common and it was often a sudden catastrophic failure of the brake system.

Modern vehicles have brake systems that tell the driver when the brakes are worn or about to fail. Drivers choose to make a conscious decision to ignore their brakes for long periods. Do you think the punishment meets the crime in these cases? Please leave your comments below.

Link to The News Tribune Story