SAN ANGELO, TX — A trial by jury is currently taking place in the Tom Green County District Courts in relation to a motor vehicle accident that has more than a few peculiarities.
On October 10, 2017 at roughly 2:11p.m. Patricia Ortega was traveling west on Sherwood Way when Faith Sanchez, traveling east, executed a left hand turn across two lanes of traffic in front of the unsuspecting Mrs. Ortega. Furthermore, the young Faith Sanchez, a student at Angelo State, had no driver's license and had never taken a driving education course before her father allowed her to take his car to school, for she was driven by her brother.
These being undisputed facts in the case, it would seem that there is no need for a trial. The Plaintiff therefore moved for a summary judgement but the Defendants responded saying, "there are genuine issues of material facts that should be determined by a jury."
The first issue being that of a traffic: Faith Sanchez testified in her deposition that traffic was backed up in the westbound lanes to a standstill. Faith attempted her left hand turn despite the traffic because she was waved in.
"This lady stopped and held back the traffic, so it was a long line of cars. So I wasn’t able to see, like, who was coming from the other lane. And so she kept waiving me on," she said in her deposition.
Such testimony suggests that the plaintiff was traveling too fast in such a congested area, rushing past many stopped cars, and so in her defense, Faith alleges Mrs. Ortega was at fault.
Faith's father John Sanchez when deposed makes clear he thinks his daughter is in no way at fault. The plaintiff first of all was not in the "fast lane" he says, meaning that lane closer to the dividing line, but the slow lane and despite this, moved to pass several cars.
Based on the damage to the plaintiff's car, John Sanchez estimates that Mrs. Ortega must have been driving well over the 35 mph speed limit at the time of the collision.
Mr. Sanchez was also deposed and asked who was responsible for the crash. She responded that the driver who waved his daughter to turn despite being unsure of the safety of such a maneuver is to blame.
"Faith could not get a clear vision of where she was at. And Faith, of course, you know, she's a — how should I say it — trustworthy of other people telling her, you know, taking their advice — So she — she turned." Sadly for the defense, said driver who waved for Faith to turn remains unidentified and so cannot testify in the trial.
The Sanchez family is hoping to prove Faith's innocence as the trial moves forward this week by redirecting blame onto the unidentified driver who encouraged Faith to make the turn, and into Mrs. Ortega's path. And to direct the blame at Mrs. Ortega for being negligent of traffic and driving over the speed limit.
Despite the defendant's lack of a driver's license and evident fault in executing the turn without being fully certain of its safety, it is easy to empathize with the young girl. According to her testimony, she had, while on the way to her college classes, stopped in the turning lane of a five-lane road waiting to cross before being waived along by a driver coming the other way who supposedly had Faith's best interest in mind. The naive driver that she was took the advice uncritically and so was involved in an accident. You could say Faith had faith.
The plaintiff, Mrs. Ortega, seeks over $100,000 in damages which the unlicensed and uninsured driver would have to pay. The following quote is from the deposition of Faith Sanchez:
Q: So after the collision, what was the first thing you did when your vehicle came to a stop?
A: I was saying “Mom, Mom,” because I didn't know -- like I was in shock. . . “