If you’re out on the roads in Tennessee and a reckless driver without insurance kills you then your surviving family members might have to pay a massive sum of money for hospital bills or funeral costs.
Especially if the driver is an alleged illegal immigrant who escaped the custody of the Tennessee Highway Patrol and is currently a fugitive.
That’s exactly what the family of Keri King is dealing with right now in Bedford County — they have more than $35,000 in hospital and funeral costs brought on through someone else’s negligence.
But, fortunately for them, staff members of a Shelbyville bank are collecting funds to help.
As The Tennessee Star reported, Edgar Torres-Rangel was intoxicated in late October when he hit and killed King, 29, as she was on her way home.
Torres-Rangel sustained his own injuries in the crash. Authorities transported him to Vanderbilt University Medical Center. He later escaped the facility without anyone noticing. Officers with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation recently placed Torres-Rangel on their 10 Most Wanted List.
Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance spokesman Kevin Walters told The Star Monday Tennessee law requires drivers to carry insurance.
“Because Tennessee is an ‘at fault’ state, the party at fault is required to cover the damages,” Walters said in an emailed statement.
“The family should file a claim through her auto policy and/or health insurance policy. Should they still have a bill after the claims process, they are welcome to submit a complaint to the department, and we can work to mediate the issue.”
Members of King’s family, if they so choose, are possibly entitled to payments from the Tennessee Criminal Injuries Compensation Fund, Walters said.
That program assists victims of crimes or, in the case of the victim’s death, their dependent relatives, according to the Tennessee Department of the Treasury’s website.
Payments made are intended to defray the costs of medical services, loss of earnings, burial costs and other financial losses incurred as a direct result of personal injuries, including drunk driving.
Meanwhile, Rebecca Jones, spokeswoman for the First Community Bank in Shelbyville, said an account is open for people to donate to help Keri’s family.
“People can stop by or ask a teller to make a deposit into the account,” Jones said.
“They can either ask a name for us to put on record of who donated, but if not they will list it as anonymous.”
The bank will not take payments online, but people can call the bank and pay over the phone with a credit or debit card, Jones said.
That phone number is 931-684-5800.
People can also mail a check to PO BOX 1027, Shelbyville, TN 37162, Jones said.
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