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Three-year-old Tabatha Brown was pronounced brain dead after a drunk driver plowed into her mother’s SUV.
The crash happened Friday, April 17, 2015, around 7:00 at night. Tabatha, her mother, her 16-year-old uncle, and her 2-year-old cousin were heading to visit her great-grandmother at Beaumont Hospital. Pontiac resident Iesha Barnes drover her Chevy Blazer through the red light and T-boned the family’s Pontiac Montana so hard, it drove the SUV back into a nearby Dodge Magnum.
Tabatha, her mother, uncle, and the driver Barnes were all taken to St. Joseph Hospital. While Tabatha’s family were all in critical condition, Barnes was stable. Two days later, Tabatha was declared brain dead.
A person is Brain dead when an “irreversible, catastrophic brain injury” stops all brain functioning. It means that the brain is not working at all, and never will again. While the patient’s brain is dead, her body may be preserved using machines. This allows the patient’s family to decide whether to donate her organs.
That is what happened to Tabatha. According to the family’s GoFundMe.com page,
“Tabatha has gained her angel wings. She went to heaven yesterday to live with her grandma that she was named after. She was a smart, silly, sassy little girl who loved her family especially her parents, baby brother and her cousin Jr. She has always been a princess but now she is a hero as she is giving the gift of life to others. We now need money to properly say goodbye so please continue to bless us with your generosity and kind thoughts and prayers.”
Driver Iesha Barnes’s preliminary breath test showed a blood alcohol content of 0.156. That is nearly twice the legal driving limit of 0.08. On Monday, April 20, Barnes appeared in court on charges of “operating while intoxicated causing serious injury” a five year felony. Now that Tabatha has been declared brain dead, Barnes could face another, more serious charge, “operating while intoxicated causing death,” and up to 15 years in prison.
But those consequences pale in comparison to Tabatha’s family. They now have to focus on recovery, as well as grieving the loss of little Tabatha. There will be insurance claims and court appearances, treatment regimes and holidays without their baby. There may even need to be a lawsuit.
Families facing brain death as the result of drunk driver have a lot of very difficult decisions to make. There are lots of considerations, but decisions should never depend on whether there is money to cover the medical expenses. Trial lawyers like David Christensen and the team at Christensen Law in Southfield, Michigan can help families sort out the insurance claims and file a wrongful death action to make sure everything is covered. If you or someone you love has been hit by a drunk driver, contact Christensen Law today for a free consultation.
Image Source: GoFundMe.com