Mrs. Laura Miera, 48-years-old, dropped her daughter off at school and drove out of the school’s parking lot. While she was stopped at a red light, a tractor trailer for Albuquerque Redi-Mix, Inc. and Quintana Enterprises, Inc., driven by Truman Bahe struck Miera’s car. The tractor trailer rolled over, pinning Miera in her vehicle as 25 tons of sand poured out of the truck, burying her alive.
Despite rescue efforts, Miera suffered compression asphyxiation at the scene of the accident. Miera is survived by her husband, a minor child, and two adult children.
Miera’s husband and mother, on behalf of her estate, and Miera’s husband, individually and on behalf of the couple’s minor daughter, sued Bahe for his negligent driving. The suit against Redi-Mix, Quintana Enterprises, and its owners alleged negligent hiring, retention, and supervision, negligent entrustment, violation of federal regulations and New Mexico statutory law, and vicarious liability.
Among other things, the lawsuit charged that Bahe had a history of driving under the influence and that the tractor trailer, which was negligently maintained, had three sets of brakes that were out of adjustment at the time of the accident.
The plaintiffs did not claim lost income.
The court awarded $79.74 million, including $60 million in punitive damages against Redi-Mix, Quintana Enterprises, and its owners.
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