Family gets $440K from defendant who ran light

Jon Wilcox By Jon Wilcox

Dec. 1, 2017 at 9:36 p.m.
Updated Dec. 2, 2017 at 6 a.m.

Daniel, 29, and Adylene Cantu, 28, were injured in a 2014 wreck for which they won 440,000 in a lawsuit on Wednesday. They have three sons.

Daniel, 29, and Adylene Cantu, 28, were injured in a 2014 wreck for which they won 440,000 in a lawsuit on Wednesday. They have three sons.   contributed photo for The Victoria Advocate

A jury awarded $440,000 on Wednesday to a couple who suffered injuries after a Victoria driver ran a flashing red light and collided with their SUV.

"To this day, we don't know why he didn't stop," said Victoria attorney Luther Easley, who, with Chuck Cole, represented plaintiffs Daniel Cantu, 29, and Adylene Cantu, 28.

Defendant Gabriel Ruiz, of Victoria, and his attorney, Ralph Rodriguez, could not be reached for comment.

Easley and Cole asked jurors to decide compensation for the Cantus after Ruiz offered a payment that was "very, very low," said Easley, who declined to reveal the exact amount. During trial, Ruiz challenged his own culpability in causing the crash and the severity of the Cantus' injuries, Easley said.

"The defendant was not willing to accept responsibility," Easley said.

On the evening of Nov. 22, 2014, the Cantus were on their way home from taking their son to the hospital for a fever when the crash happened at North John Stockbauer Drive and East Airline Road. The Cantus stopped and yielded properly at the intersection's traffic lights, which were flashing red at the time, but Ruiz did not, he said.

As a result of the collision, Daniel Cantu suffered a tear to his shoulder and a herniated disc in his lower back. His wife suffered an injury to her hip.

A physician testified that Daniel Cantu, as a result of the crash, had a back like that of a 60-year-old person, Easley said.

Those injuries also caused him to abandon a career as an electrician's helper in Victoria and relocate to Washington to pursue work, the attorney said. Additionally, his ability to interact and play with his three sons, who are under the age of 10, was severely limited, Easley said.

According to the Cantus' lawsuit, "Plaintiff has experienced physical pain and mental anguish and will, in reasonable possibility, continue to do so in the future."


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