MINEOLA, TX (10/25/2015) — A rollover accident caused by a stray cow killed Judd Lyles, and injured Joel, Jay and Colin Lyles on Sunday night.
According to the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), 13-year-old Judd Lyles was killed on Sunday night after a rollover car accident along Highway 69 in Mineola, Texas.
The DPS stated that at around 10:30 p.m., a northbound 2008 Chevrolet Silverado, driven by 18-year-old Joel Lyles, struck a cow that was lying in the roadway. The impact caused the pickup truck to rollover several times.
Judd, who was not wearing a seat belt, was ejected from the pickup truck. He was pronounced dead at a East Texas Medical Center (ETMC) Quitman Hospital by Dr. Hollingsworth.
Authorities reported that Joel and the other two occupants—16-year-old Jay Lyles and 20-year-old Colin Lyles—were all taken to ETMC. Joel and Jay have been listed in stable condition, however, Colin remains in serious condition.
While some may be quick to place blame on the driver in this accident, I would like to point out an important issue regarding liability in a case like this. While it is true that Texas is an “open range” or “fence out” state, and thus doesn’t require livestock owners to prevent animals from getting on most roadways, it’s important to note that there is an exception to this rule with regard to state and federal highways (Texas Agric. Code Section 143.102). Livestock owners have a legal duty to prevent their animals from wandering onto the highway, and when they fail to uphold this duty and someone is injured or killed as a result, they can be held liable for resulting damages.