Julia Moore, John Wurts Killed in Car Accident on Gessner Rd in Harris County, TX
Harris County, TX -- January 23, 2022, Julia Moore and John Wurts were killed and a child was injured in an auto accident on Gessner Road in Harris County.
Authorities say the incident happened around 9:15 p.m. on Gessner at Twelve Lakes Boulevard. Preliminary investigation suggests Christian Jimenez, 29, was driving a Dodge Ram tow truck licensed to Harris County south on Gessner, while in the same area Julia Moore, 57, was driving a Toyota Camry northward. Moore reportedly entered the left-turn lane of Gessner and began to turn onto Twelve Lakes, at which point the Dodge hit the Toyota's passenger side.
Moore and passenger John Wurts, 31, were pronounced dead at the scene. A 12-year-old girl in the Camry suffered critical injuries and was airlifted to an area hospital. Jimenez was said to have received minor injuries.
Investigators noted evidence and footage from the tow truck's dashcam indicate the Ram may have been speeding at the time.
No further information is available at this time.
Commentary on Julia Moore, John Wurts Accident in Harris County
I write often on this blog about the difficulties of holding a commercial entity responsible when one of its employees makes a mistake and people get hurt. Between the company's typical refusal to accept liability and its insurer looking for ways not to honor its substantial policy, there are usually major battles to wage to help injured victims after a truck accident.
If anyone can give those companies a run for their money in terms of stubbornness, though, it's government bodies. When a vehicle is owned by a city, county, state, or the federal government, there's a strong chance they'll come out swinging if confronted about possible wrongdoing.
Most people will go their whole lives without being hit by a government vehicle, so they may not be aware that often involves certain unique hurdles if a victim or family seeks justice afterward. That can create serious difficulties for victims and families not prepared to meet those challenges.
For example, a typical claim against a private company in Texas gives victims and families two years from the date of the accident to file a claim, called the statute of limitations. The government uses a similar system but with a much narrower window. In Texas, for instance, victims and families must notify the state government of their intent to file a claim within 6 months. Beyond that, most municipal charters give an even shorter time frame--in some cities no more than 90 days--to take the same action. That may seem like long enough on paper, but I get calls all the time from people who didn't pick up the phone for nearly a year as they struggled with other complications that follow a crash.
Between recovery, financial woes, grieving, and other challenges they face after a serious accident, being proactive sometimes takes a back seat. While understandable given everything else they have to face, that can still prove problematic for victims when they're ready to take action. Unless they filed their notice of intent during the statutory window, their case is usually dismissed. Obviously that's a stinging blow when they've been busy just trying to stabilize, but it's one of many layers designed to insulate the government against claims.
No matter what happened here, getting to the bottom of it and getting help for the victims and their loved ones would likely be a significant challenge. That's just one of the many reasons I encourage people to take steps as soon as they can to find out what their path forward looks like. Having the tools, evidence, and allies to overcome all of these legal obstacles is vital after any serious wreck.