Suit filed over death: Cyclist’s family seeks $1 million in damages - Valley Morning Star : Local News

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Suit filed over death: Cyclist’s family seeks $1 million in damages

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Posted: Wednesday, November 28, 2018 10:00 pm

The family of a Brownsville woman killed after she was hit by a truck during a summer bicycling event in Harlingen has filed a wrongful death lawsuit seeking more than $1 million in damages.

Armando Aguirre Hernandez, 71, hit and killed 47-year-old Rosa “Rosy” Isela Romo on Aug. 19 in Harlingen on FM 106 while she participated in a bicycling event, according to a Texas Department of Transportation accident report.

She died after the 2009 Ford F-250 driven by Hernandez veered onto the improved shoulder of the road at 7:14 a.m. while driving above the 55-mph speed limit, striking her and killing her, according to the accident report.

Hernandez told responding officers the sun was in his eyes.

The Texas Department of Public Safety charged Hernandez with one count of criminally negligent homicide. In September, DPS said it was still investigating the fatal crash and would turn its investigation over to the Cameron County District Attorney’s Office. On Wednesday afternoon, the DA's Office said the case hadn't yet been submitted.

Luis Miguel Romo, her husband, filed the lawsuit on behalf of himself and his wife’s surviving son and two daughters on Sept. 19 against Hernandez, Zoila Delia Hernandez, Hernandez Custom Hauling, Richard Cavin, Randonneurs USA and RGV Randos.

The surviving family has since agreed to dismiss the litigation against the RGV Randos because it was not a legal entity at the time of the accident, court documents indicate.

The non-competitive bicycling event Rosa Romo died while riding in was organized by Cavin, a member of the group Randonneurs USA, which is an organization that coordinates and promotes the type of event Rosa Romo was participating in when she was hit and killed.

According to the lawsuit, Armando Aguirre Hernandez was employed by Hernandez Custom Hauling in a vehicle owned by Zoila Delia Hernandez when he drove at a high rate of speed, approached a curve, lost control of his vehicle and veered onto the improved shoulder striking Rosa Romo’s bicycle.

“As a result of the impact, Mrs. Romo was thrown from her bicycle, suffered life altering injuries, and subsequently died from her injuries,” the lawsuit states.

The litigation says that Luis Miguel Romo and his son “witnessed Mrs. Romo struggle to breath and subsequently succumb to her injuries.”

Luis Miguel Romo and his wife’s surviving children allege that Armando Aguirre Hernandez was an incompetent driver and that Hernandez Custom Hauling negligently entrusted the vehicle to him.

Armando Aguirre Hernandez, Zoila Delia Hernandez and Hernandez Custom Hauling deny the allegations and demanded a jury trial, court documents indicate.

The surviving family members further accuse Hernandez Custom Hauling of failing to train and supervise Armando Aguirre Hernandez, alleging that the fatal accident could have been prevented.

The litigation accuses Armando Aguirre Hernandez of failing to keep a proper lookout, of not adhering to an official traffic control device, of failing to stop at a designated stopping point, of failing to control his speed, of failing to control his vehicle, of failing to avoid the collision, of obstructing Rosa Romo’s lane of travel, of inattention, of failing to reasonably apply the brakes, of faulty evasive action and of distracted driving.

The surviving family members accuse Cavin and the Randonneurs USA of proximately causing the fatal accident by failing to enact proper safety protocols and by failing to provide safety training to volunteers and safety manuals to participants.

According to the lawsuit, the event was negligently organized and planned because the route was allegedly improperly inspected when organizers failed to identify hazards associated with the portion of the roadway where the crash occurred.

The litigation further alleges that the organizers failed to properly place warning signs alerting motorists to the event and alerting participants to potential hazards.

In a nationwide email Randonneurs USA sent to its members on Tuesday, the organization said it experienced a fatality at one of its summer events and was sued, resulting in it having to temporarily suspend some of its events.

“Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the deceased, as well as her fellow riders and the local randonneuring community,” the email states. “Sadly, the rider’s family has brought a lawsuit against (Randonneurs USA).”

The Brownsville Herald sent an inquiry to an email address associated with the message asking if Randonneurs USA was referring to Rosa Romo and her surviving family members’ lawsuit, but there was no response by deadline.

“We know that this information may cause consternation and concern from the membership. While we will do our best to answer questions you might have, we are unable to disclose any specific information about the fatality, the associated lawsuit, etc,” the email to Randonneurs USA members states.

Court records indicate that a lawyer representing Randonneurs USA is also representing Cavin. Both parties generally deny the allegations levied in the lawsuit.

mreagan@brownsvilleherald.com

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