Remember Takara Davis? She was the 13-year-old Las Vegas girl who was run down on January 4th, and the cop came to the hospital to hand a jaywalking ticket to the mother to give to for her daughter. If her child lived. See, Cop Gives Ticket to Brain-Damaged Girl (Why? I have a theory…) The story went viral with the phrase Takara Davis Jaywalking now returning over 18,000 hits.
Well, two things have since happened. First, the ticket was dismissed on Monday. And today, she sued the driver of the other car. A copy of the Complaint is here: TakaraDavisLawsuit
When I first read about the suit on Above the Law, something smelled very fishy because of the cop racing to the hospital to give a jaywalking ticket to the child’s mother while her kid was in a coma. That isn’t normal behavior, and I figured the driver was connected somehow by being a cop, firefighter, politician, etc.
We now have more details with the filing of suit, which alleges that the driver was going too fast and failed to see what was there to be seen. No surprise there, as that is stock language. But the Complaint also has a few intriguing details:
1. The girl was hit in the center lane of South Durango Drive near this intersection at 2:30 in the afternoon. And that means the driver wasn’t faced with someone simply stepping off the curb and getting hit. I looked at the street view and satellite view on Google maps and Durango seems to be about three lanes across in each direction.
2. She was with a group of other students, making her all the more visible.
3. The car was moving so fast the child’s head smashed the windshield (causing the head injury) and she was then thrown approximately 100 feet. (News stories say 45 mph, but the Complaint doesn’t specify.)
4. The driver didn’t stop right away, but waited a full block to do so.
5. The police permitted the driver to drive away with a shattered windshield, blood splatter, and extensive damage to the hood.
6. The car was quickly repaired before it could be examined by a representative of Davis.
One of the allegations was that of operating a car in excessive speed near a middle school. Remember, this was 2:30 in the afternoon, when kids are leaving school.
What does all this mean? I’m not sure yet, as these are merely the plaintiff’s allegations. The defense will likely present a different portrait, as they almost always do.
But it seems pretty clear that the first reports and initial reactions of many people that the kid must have done something wrong and been completely at fault because she got a ticket, are likely to be wildly wrong. First impressions based on news stories often are. Further details will take quite awhile to hash out.
This tidbit, however, still intrigues me: The driver, according to this news story,was 21 years old. I want to know who, exactly, her parents are and how they are connected. Because I would bet good money that the cops didn’t just let the driver leave the scene of a serious accident with a busted windshield and then race to the hospital to give a ticket to the teenager, unless the driver knew someone with some kind of influence. The driver is Lusine Vartanyan, and the owners of the car are Armine Arshhakyan and Armen Vartanyan, according to the Complaint.
Plaintiff is represented by Christian Morris and Lloyd Baker of the Baker Law Offices in Las Vegas.
Elsewhere, before suit was filed:
- True Crime Report: She may have had bleeding on her brain, and she may have been unable to feel or move her arm and leg on the left side of her body, but in this cop’s mind, there’s never an inappropriate time to give a little girl a misdemeanor citation.”
- Black Political Thought: “This is coming from the same police department that allowed Paris Hilton to be afforded the opportunity to be arrested in an “unbecoming” manner.”
Several thoughts here
A) The facts still remain to be determined – I’ve seen considerable amounts of fiction contained in civil complaints, so I will reserve judgment as to what happened
B) the dismissal of the ticket means less than nothing as tickets get dismissed for a variety of reasons, including a police officer not showing up to testify at the hearing
C) Two of the points you made are the crux of this case :
“5. The police permitted the driver to drive away with a shattered windshield, blood splatter, and extensive damage to the hood.
6. The car was quickly repaired before it could be examined by a representative of Davis.”
That these things happened suggests really incompetant police work – they also make a truly accurate accounting of the events very difficult. True, in some jurisdictions the plaintiff would be allowed a spoliation instruction (some jurisdictions do not allow this), but that may be inadequate.
This may be a first, but I am in complete agreement with you on all points.
For me the crux of it all, however, is why the cop went and dropped the ticket on the kid. Because without that, there would be no reason to be writing about the case and it wouldn’t have received so much attention.
If my theory is right (the driver is connected somehow) then it might end out being a good case example of how the true facts (as seen by the proverbial fly on the wall) can be distorted.
Eric – we agree on many things – we both want a fair and just society and want right to prevail over wrong. We simply disagree on our definitions of right and wrong, fair and just
As a plaintiff attorney you want things that are fair and just for your client. As a taxpayer, I want things to be fair and just for all, keeping in mind that life itself can be terribly unfair.
I don’t believe that robbing Peter to pay Paul is fair to Peter, no matter how badly Paul is injured or aggrieved. If Peter bears partial fault then to the extent that Peter was responsible for Paul’s injuries, money’s taken from Peter are not robbery
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Pffft. I hate living in a country where someone can just ramdomly walk into a street then sue because they get hit by a car. In my opinion, unless someone was holding a gun to her head and forced her into the street, the idiot kid was in the wrong. Way to profit from your mistakes instead of taking responsibility for them, though! Go girl, a true American.
In my opinion, unless someone was holding a gun to her head and forced her into the street, the idiot kid was in the wrong. Way to profit from your mistakes instead of taking responsibility for them, though!
I’m always fascinated by people who assume they know what happened even though they weren’t at the scene of an accident/crime. It seems that some just want to believe whatever the want, and the facts be damned.
Do you have an update on Taraka Davis? (She’s my niece … )
1) Police took evidence and wrote a report
2) No one one writing comments or articles were there, they do not know what happened
3) The police, who took statements and reconstructed the scene, gave the jaywalker a ticket.
4) If the police said she’s breaking the law, WTF are we doing saying they’re wrong?!? WE were NOT there! Why the hell is anyone assuming THEY know what happened and THE POLICE don’t know what happened?
5) Does being hurt mean you can’t break the law? Do you think when police shoot a murder suspect the suspect doesn’t get charged anymore? Do you think the guy who burns himself cooking meth doesn’t get a ticket? Why does everyone think the police were “horrible” for writing a ticket? If she broke the law she broke the law.
6) If a car is drive-able the police will let you drive away, why wouldn’t they? Why require a tow truck for a car that runs? Plus we don’t know where the driver lived, this could have happened in front of their apartment, and we don’t know how bad the windshield was.
7) Of course the car was repaired, how long would you leave your car sitting there damaged? Weeks? Months? The police took photos and a report of the damage at the scene, those photos are enough.
8) Again: We were not there. The police took evidence and determined the teenager broke the law and deserved a ticket. Stop trying to tell the police they don’t know what happened.
The police, who took statements and reconstructed the scene, gave the jaywalker a ticket.
A ticket is merely an accusation. It is not a conviction.
Given the oddball scenario of giving a ticket for jaywalking — and I can’t say I’ve ever heard of such a thing around these parts — it is reasonable to question the conduct of the policeman that did it, and fair to ask if there was some particular reason to go out of the way to do such a thing.
@Eric Turkewitz –
That’s what the police are for. Police were at the scene, took a report and issued a ticket to the teen.
Break law, receive ticket. “simpler explanations are, other things being equal, generally better than more complex ones.” – Occam’s razor
Maybe around your parts people break the law and police do nothing but that’s not what police are suppose to do. Police are suppose to enforce the law, even when it is uncomfortable.
Honestly I would be worried if the police didn’t give her a ticket, I’d have to wonder how corrupt the police are
Break law, receive ticket.
Given the victim was in a coma, and therefore couldn’t give a statement if she wanted to, I wouldn’t be all that confident about any alleged investigation. Remember also that the car wasn’t impounded, but the driver allowed to leave with it and clean away the evidence.
Maybe around your parts people break the law and police do nothing …
For jaywalking? That is correct. The police have more important things to do on behalf of the taxpayers.
It’s worth noting, of course, that even if the teen was jaywalking — and I have no idea if she was or wasn’t — it would not excuse a driver’s failure to see what was there to be seen, or speeding, drinking, texting or anything else that could have been going on to distract a driver or slow a driver’s reactions.
Those facts are unknown to me of course, but what was known, is that this was a very odd time/place to give a ticket for an infraction like jaywalking, and that raises suspicions. And that is what made it newsworthy.
Reports say she was with a group of friends so there were plenty of witnesses, obviously the police on the scene had enough reason to issue a ticket based on eye witness testimony.
If jaywalking results in an accident and serious injury then a ticket should always be issued, either driver or jaywalker. It’s like that with many minor infractions like seatbelts, you probably will not be pulled over and ticketed simply for lack of seatbelt but if you’re speeding or drunk driving and not wearing a seatbelt you’ll probably receive a ticket for not wearing a seatbelt.
Of course you don’t know if she was jaywalking, you weren’t there, but the police that were there said she was, should we call them liars? When the police say someone’s a drug dealer or murder do we assume they’re also lying? That’s a slippery slope, there is no need to read into this considering the circumstances, think it’s best to just take the police’s word
Newsworthy? …. eh, only because it’s sensationalism and makes the police look like monsters. We all know the media loves to bash the police every chance they get but everyone quickly dials 911 when they’re in trouble. Pretty disgusting. This isn’t Rodney King, the officer was simply doing his job. This was a significant accident, he was right to issue a ticket to someone.
From the articles it sounds like this girl was not doing what she was suppose to be doing and got hurt, like a child playing with matches or finding daddy’s gun. It’s unfortunate that this has happened but I do not blame the driver, that driver will likely be scarred for life.
It’s unfortunate that this has happened but I do not blame the driver, that driver will likely be scarred for life.
Oddly enough, you have talked only about the child, and never discussed the potential liability of the driver.
Are you saying that, hypothetically, a driver was drunk and speeding through a school zone, that s/he would be immune from liability if a child jaywalked?
In other words, that there can be one, and only one, cause for an accident?
Hypothetical is a waste a time, we could present hypothetical situations and tweak each scenario to favor each other’s opinion all day and get no where.
I’d rather spend my time on an actual event that happened like the accident we’re discussing. With the evidence presented and based on the police’s reaction I do not blame the driver. It’s the police’s actions that make all the difference, had the driver been ticketed this would be a very different discussion. But the fact that the police went so far as to give a teen in a coma a ticket means they must have heard some very compelling testimony against her.
I’d rather spend my time on an actual event that happened like the accident we’re discussing.
Why? I wasn’t there and you claim you weren’t there.
Odd that you seem to want to give the driver immunity regardless of his actions. Very odd indeed.
Why is it odd to trust the judgement of the police that were on the scene? Is it wrong to trust the word of a police officer?
Unless you have a reason why those officers should not be trusted…? Have you Googled their names and found accusations or evidence they been dishonest in the past or since the accident?
While we’re at it what was the outcome of the lawsuit? It’s been nearly a year, surely it has reached a courtroom or been settled by now.
Is it wrong to trust the word of a police officer?
A police officer is no more, or less, trustworthy than anyone else.
By the way, is there any evidence that a cop was an actual witness to the accident? Because if not, then you are dealing with classic hearsay, in which statements may (or may not) be recorded accurately. Which is why such statements are often excluded.
While we’re at it what was the outcome of the lawsuit?
I have no idea. These things often take a long time.
@Eric Turkewitz – issuing the ticket whether right or wrong gives the driver in this case some wiggle room in court. It causes some doubt to be seen on both sides as to who is really at fault. This doubt will be of great help if and when someone-(the driver)-gets sued. So depending on how you look at it issuing the ticket was a show of either poor and callous character or a good legal move!
issuing the ticket whether right or wrong gives the driver in this case some wiggle room in court.
Issuing a ticket is meaningless, as it is only a charge. A conviction is different.