Two Dragracing Comcast Vans Cause Accident That Seriously Injures 3-Yr-Old Girl

According to WAFF in Huntsville, Alabama, last weekend 2 Comcast Cable vans were racing each other at speeds of over 75mph which caused an accident that put 3-year-old Kayleen Smith (pictured left) on life support. Now Kayleen is off life support but remains unconscious. Details, inside…

The article says,

They’re (the family) holding onto hope that she’ll regain consciousness.

Three-year-old Kayleen Smith’s uncle Daimen Morrison said, “She loves flowers. Boy, if we had a yard full of flowers, she’d pick every single one of them.”

He adds, “Everybody knows that she’s the sweetest, smartest, little thing you’ll ever meet. She’s just something else though. She makes my father more happy than I’ve ever seen him,” Morrison said. The girl is clinging to life in Huntsville Hospital after an accident Saturday morning.

Witness Wesley Hadley says, “I said a prayer right there. I didn’t know what else to do.” Hadley saw the accident happen as he was traveling south on Memorial Parkway.

Near Sam’s Club and Lowe’s, he says, “Two Comcast vans passed me… I estimate, probably about 75 miles per hour.” In a 50 mile-per-hour zone.

Hadley says one continued straight and another tried to turn right near O’reilly Auto Parts. “I knew he wasn’t going to make it.” Hadley says a woman with her two granddaughters was approaching a stop sign.

The Comcast driver hit the van and flipped before resting upside down. The witness describes seeing the accident in slow motion, a horrible sight with tremendous force.

Kayleen Smith is now off life support, but is still unconscious.

Her nine-year-old sister was also in the vehicle, but escaped serious injury, as did their grandmother. The Comcast driver has been released from the hospital and refused to comment.
Family of the other employee confirms to me he was working that day, but could not elaborate due to the investigation.

Hadley says, “They were racing. It looked like they were racing. They were going in and out and trying to keep up with each other.”

Morrison says, “I just hope this shows anybody out there that wants to act foolish on the road, that people can lose their life and everything that means everything to them.”

Comcast could not provide details on employee procedure or the status of these two employees.

Comcast General Manager Butch Jernigan gave us the following statement: “Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone involved. We will cooperate fully with local authorities, but cannot comment further because of the on-going investigation. At Comcast, the safety of our employees, customers, and the general public is a top priority.”

According to Huntsville Police, no criminal charges have been filed at this time and the accident is currently under investigation.

We’re saddened by this story and hope Kayleen pulls through. We hope that Comcast learns that the money they save in cheap outsourcing has real costs. We’ve witnessed things like the Comcast Contractor Doing Donuts as well as the Comcast Tech Falls Asleep On Couch which were amusing and fairly innocuous. Unfortunately, Comcast has now graduated up to reckless and dangerous. It’s tragic that it takes these kinds of accidents for companies to realize that the value of saving a few dollars is nothing compared to the value of human life.

Witnesses say two cable cars racing causing serious accident [WAFF] (Thanks to Brian!)
(Photo: WAFF)

Comments

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  1. mantari says:

    Well, Comcast DOES offer service that is faster than DSL, so this kind of thing really has to be expected.

  2. iEddie says:

    @mantari: Not in all areas. Qwest offers 20/1 service in some areas, which is obviously faster than Comcrap’s highest 16mbps tier (in most non-FiOS areas).

  3. DashTheHand says:

    Can Comcast really be blamed for the stupidity of two idiots racing each other? Its not like the CEO called them up and said “First one to the stoplight gets a million dollar paycheck.”

    Contractors should only be held accountable when the service they are performing for the company thats paying them is faulty. Two jackasses in unmarked vans would have been just as guilty of reckless driving.

  4. highmodulus says:

    Not sure this is Comcast’s fault.

  5. cotr says:

    nah, comcast should be at fault. its their workers/van and their employees. as long as they were on the clock, comcast better be sending that family more than just their Triple Play package as a gift.

  6. howie_in_az says:

    At least they didn’t say they take safety seriously…

    Still, wow, this is really shitty. Thanks for ruining my day.

  7. RBecho says:

    I hope this little girl pulls through, but we can’t really blame Comcast for this. However, we can blame the idiot’s behind the wheel and hope they get what’s coming to them (jail time and firings).

  8. RothRandom says:

    Usually when people drag race, they know what they doing. That’s not all the time, of course. Obviously this is an example of stupid people on the road.

  9. Would I go to hell for making a comment like “obviously they were not on the way to a service call”?

    Just checking.

  10. SkokieGuy says:

    Six comments ahead of me as I write this and not one person extends any compassion toward the family. I hope and pray your daughter recovers completely and I know my thoughts are shared by many, many people who will read this tragic tale here and elsewhere.

    You know they made speed limiting devices for vehicles and black box type records that can electronically send a signal when the vehicle is speeding. Yellow Freight started using monitoring computer many years ago. If companies with commercial vehicles REALLy wanted to make “safety a priority” not just a slogan on a sticker, they would install these. The cost would be offset by possible insurance discounts, a reduction in accidents and maybe avoiding multi-million dollar wrongful death and injury lawsuits.

  11. Diet-Orange-Soda says:

    @RothRandom: Right. Usually people don’t drag race utility vans either.

  12. sleze69 says:

    Clearly Comcast’s push to improve service is resulting in their technicians rushing from job to job…

  13. heavylee-again says:

    If the drivers were Comcast employees, that’s one thing. But they are probably contractors, in which case I really don’t think Comcast is liable in this case. A possible exception might be if there had been complaints in the past of these drivers, or others from the same contracting company, driving recklesly and Comcast chose to continue doing business with them anyway.

    I’m very curious if these drivers have any history of negligent driving, whether on company time or personal time. Establishing a pattern of recklessness will be key to a successful prosecution.

  14. Toof_75_75 says:

    Is there a way we can tie Best Buy into this and be super pissed at Comcast AND Best Buy? I’m just saying…

  15. MyPetFly says:

    My knowledge of automotive technology is admittedly kind of weak, but maybe they should install speed governors on their vehicles to keep them from going more than 55 or so.

  16. mattman0726 says:

    First, my hopes and prayers go out to that little girl for a fast recovery, and that she doesn’t lave any long-term physical or mental problems because of these two idiots. I agree that these guys should be fired immediately, and they should also pay the little girl’s medical bills. I’m not willing to debate whether Comcast or their contractor is to blame, but they both should do the right thing and pony up some money for any long-term care she may need.

  17. @MyPetFly: That would be fairly easy to do, but you can still kill a child with a vehicle at 5mph.

    The employees are the issue, not the vans themselves. Personal and professional responsibility.

  18. Buran says:

    @highmodulus: If you are on the clock you are acting in the name of/on behalf of your employer.

  19. blackmage439 says:

    “Comcast could not provide details on employee procedure or the status of these two employees.”

    Translation:

    “We kept these two assholes on the payroll because we can. Screw you.”

    The first thing a reputable company would do is suspend them both immediately. Jesus, they destroyed company property AND caused an accident resulting in life-threatening injury. This is a disgusting scenario, and like Walmart & the Debby Shank disaster, Comcast will only receive my business out of necessity.

  20. SarcasticDwarf says:

    I have to wonder what the REAL speed they were going. The odds are that the guy was overestimating their speed. If they were going 60 in a 50mph zone then they would have been going speeds that are normal and not considered wreckless.

  21. opfreak says:

    Buran: thats probably the case, that comcast will be on the hook.

    However in a none screwed up, sue happy world, with stupid juries… that would not be the case.

    I doubt the training for comast includes a chapter on safe drag racing…

    The company shouldn’t be at fault for what two stupid people did.

  22. Buran says:

    @MyPetFly: Not wise. There are times when you may legitimately need to be able to accelerate away from trouble. 70mph is a more sensible governed speed. Unfortunately, that wouldn’t have stopped this from happening.

    As someone who was nearly killed by an illegal street race once already (Civic shoots by to my right, I hear a loud screech and look in my rearview mirror to see an Integra nosediving into the pavement as the driver frantically tries to not rear-end me — WITH my mom in the back seat; she would have been killed) I have no sympathy for these idiots.

    I never see the cops pull over the irresponsible, either. I got passed by an asshole just this morning in a Porsche 911 doing 120 or so in a 55, who then screamed from the far left lane into the exit ramp I was taking.

    Did a cop scream after him and pull him over? HELL NO! The city of St. Louis only gives a shit about parking tickets, and will ticket you if you’re a minute late feeding the meter, but they won’t do shit if you nearly get hit by someone doing twice the legal limit.

    Then I read this story, and it just makes me even angrier. WHERE were the police!?

  23. Buran says:

    @opfreak: However, then in the course of duties it would be a lot harder to do many jobs if employees weren’t acting for their employers etc. etc. so there’s good reason for it (and I don’t just mean Comcast techs here).

  24. mgy says:

    We know one thing for certain: they certainly weren’t in a hurry to get to their installation appointments.

  25. azntg says:

    Were they running away from that hammer wielding granny?

    Damn morons… safety on the f*cking road! All the best wishes to the little girl and her family.

  26. BPorche says:

    Speak of the irony, just yesterday we were talking about bandwidth speed and bandwidth data.

    Now, today comes up on the news that 2 Comcast employee were racing.

    Was that bandwidth speed or bandwidth data?

    Bad joke, I know.

    Prayers are for the girl.

  27. warf0x0r says:

    @DashTheHand: Um, yeah. Legally they can.

  28. dragonfire81 says:

    Comcast may not be to blame, but it’s still terrible PR for them to have two branded vans driven by on the clock drivers representing their company to nearly kill a three year old girl.

    Those drivers should go to jail. Period.

  29. savvy9999 says:

    Kayleen is not feeling very Comcastic :(

  30. heavylee-again says:

    @Buran: I never see the cops pull over the irresponsible, either. I got passed by an asshole just this morning in a Porsche 911 doing 120 or so in a 55, who then screamed from the far left lane into the exit ramp I was taking.
    Since he was in a Porsche, he’s allowed to.

  31. cvdwl says:

    < obligatory > Think of the children!?! < /obligatory >

    Ok, they were drag-racing, they hurt someone, they’re stupid punk techs working menial labor jobs for a company we despise, DO WE ONLY CARE BECAUSE SHE WAS 3?!?!?

    Throw the book at them, sick the bottom-feeding lawyers on their company, profit. Nothing to see here.

    And now, 1/5th of the national debt being used to pound sand, people starving at 11….

  32. MyPetFly says:

    @Buran:

    If not a speed governor, how about a dash-cam or black box system for commercial vehicles? I’ve got a friend who’s a safety manager for a limo company, and they’ve got g-force activated camera systems that activate if the forces go too high.

  33. I am not a lawyer, just a law student, but from what I know of tort law I think Comcast would be held liable regardless whether or not these two were contractors. They were acting in their line of work for Comcast. Comcast could then go after the two drivers for restitution, but wouldnt get much more than stale beer and bong resin I’m afraid.

  34. exkon says:

    This is horrible. My prayers are with the family…

    Consumerist, could we please stop blaming the companies and start focusing the blame on the individuals? It’s not like Comcast hired these two people and knew they were going to be driving recklessly.

  35. AustinTXProgrammer says:

    There will always be stupid drivers, and they will cause tragic wrecks.

    This little girl is going to have a lifetime of hardship ahead of her. All I can say is that these guys probably would have done it on their own time, and left the family out to dry when the auto insurance was nowhere near enough.

    This girl’s family needs to get a very good lawyer and make sure this incident is never a burden on her in the future. (Probably $1 million for current medical bills, a $100k for punitive damages (I don’t believe in big punitive awards), and if it appears she may be disabled, enough to buy a lifetime annuity to pay out $75k/year with an inflation adjustment. Probably 2 million? This amount is hard to pick, she may miss a chance to go to Harvard and bring in 100 times that. Its likely she will never reach her full potential, and we will never know what it was.

  36. uberbucket says:

    Man, Comcast is sparing no expense or effort in winning the Worst Company of the Year competition.

    While these jackasses may or may not work directly for Comcast they obviously represent and embody Comcast’s flawed decision making processes.

  37. Buran says:

    @heavylee-again: Uh… what?

    No.

  38. Buran says:

    @MyPetFly: Yes, that is a good idea, and many modern vehicles also have “black box” systems that log data like this as is.

  39. HalOfBorg says:

    Wow – I hope when this family takes possession of Comcast they run it a lot better than the former owners.

  40. Toof_75_75 says:

    @HalOfBorg:
    HAHA Nice.

  41. First I would like to offer my condolences and best wishes to the family and little girl for being put through this.

    now

    @ Usually when people drag race, they know what they doing.

    Ha

    Ahaha

    Hahahahaha

    riiiiiiiigggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhttttttt

    The ONLY place for that sort of behavior is on a legitimate racetrack. Racing of any sort done on public highways endangers everyone else. Not just from the drag racer crashing, but people can react poorly when some vehicle comes slamming around a corner. Sure the racer didn’t hit them, but their crashing into a telephone pole when swerving to avoid a blur on their left that they can’t really see was a direct result of the racer.

  42. howie_in_az says:

    @Buran: Then I read this story, and it just makes me even angrier. WHERE were the police!?

    Look, the donuts aren’t going to eat themselves you know.

  43. ahwannabe says:

    @howie_in_az: “Top priority” is the new “Taking it seriously.”

  44. Mike_ says:

    This is what happens when your service fleet is treated with Powerboostâ„¢.

    … seriously, though. Were they racing, or were they overbooked, and rushing to get to their next appointments?

  45. GearheadGeek says:

    In Texas I believe the penalty for “street racing” has up to a 6-month jail sentence available for punishing first offenders. I’d say that’s a start. The employer of these two yo-yos is definitely financially liable (whether that’s considered by the court to be Comcast or a subcontractor) but the driver himself needs to have some time to think about it in a cell. It’s too bad most states don’t have chain gangs anymore.

  46. HaloZero says:

    How do you blame outsourcing when the incident happened in the US?

    Remember, the jackasses of the world have to work too. Some of them will work at Comcast, some even at Costco. The ability of a company of getting rid of the jackasses (both incidents by the press and not by the press) determines their ability.

  47. Empire says:

    “It’s tragic that it takes these kinds of accidents for companies to realize that the value of saving a few dollars is nothing compared to the value of human life.”

    It’s more tragic that, as will likely be the case here, these kinds of accidents happen and the company doesn’t realize a thing. To those that say this is not Comcast’s fault: as a number of people have pointed out, Comcast could have used technology that would have prevented this tragedy. They chose not to.

  48. darkryd says:

    Up next for Comcast – pouring sugar in our gas tanks while anally raping our mothers.

  49. GrandizerGo says:

    @Buran: Then I read this story, and it just makes me even angrier. WHERE were the police!?

    Not to disagree, but why does everyone think there should be a cop every block or so???

    Not to mention the people who then complain for being pulled over that the cops should be stopping REAL criminals, you know the ones with guns and drugs!

    Once again, not disagreeing, but not agreeing at the same time…

  50. ByeBye says:

    It IS Comcast’s fault. They were their vans, with THEIR employees. I know I know, it was the decision of these two drivers bla bla bla. But they are also representivies of Comcast – and it’s Comcast’s fault 100%. I smell BIG lawsuit, and crimes, especially if this little girl dies.

  51. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    If the drivers were Comcast employees, that’s one thing. But they are probably contractors, in which case I really don’t think Comcast is liable in this case.
    @heavylee-again: Even if they’re contractors they’re still working for Comcast.

  52. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    Consumerist, could we please stop blaming the companies and start focusing the blame on the individuals?
    @exkon: Why shouldn’t we hold companies accountable for the actions of their employees? What is a company after all other than its employees? Should Comcast turn a blind eye every time their employees do something that they weren’t told to?

    If the people they contract to won’t stop speeding or doing donuts then Comcast should stop hiring them.

  53. axiomatic says:

    It’s Comcastic to think that employees would be this reckless while on the job.

  54. mindshadow says:

    I actually drove by this wreck Saturday. When I saw the upside down Comcast van the first words out of my mouth were “Wow, that’s Comcastic!”

  55. glass says:

    If a Fast Food worker shoots you with a gun outside of the restaurant on the clock, on the restaurant’s property, then yes, the restaurant is to blame, legally.

    End of story.

  56. BPorche says:

    @Al Czerviks Ride:

    You might want to rethink that tort law. Look up the court decision in Texas and they just recently decided that the company is not liable if the contractor works for a particular company.

    Sucks, I know, but the judges in the court was “bought” (I meant, was given a contribution) by BP Oil. If you recall there was a deadly blast a few years ago and one contract workers tried to make BP pay for the liability. Well, the Texas court decided to look the other way and declare that BP was not liable.

    Sad huh?

  57. kittenfoo says:

    OK, as someone who has driven on Memorial Pky many, many times over the past two decades, I cannot imagine how stupid someone would have to be to go anywhere near that fast, let alone drag race. Though they’ve added a few service lanes in recent years, Memorial is pretty much always packed, and you can count on missing just about every traffic light.

    I want to know why the police haven’t pressed charges. My sincere hope is that they’re busy figuring out the most heinous thing they can charge them with to keep them off the streets for the longest possible time.

  58. @BPorche: Yeah, all I know is common law, not specific statutes for specific states, so it could vary widely wherever you are.

  59. thalia says:

    At Comcast, the safety of our employees, customers, and the general public is a top priority.

    Easy to say. Not so easy to follow, apparently. The poor girl! :( Kids are usually pretty resilient, let’s hope she pulls through without any long term physical or mental effects.

  60. na2rboy says:

    Jay Slatkin somehow blaming Comcast for two assholes’ actions? Comcastic!

  61. Clarkins says:

    My prayers are with the family and the little girl. I’m a daddy of two and uncle of six. This kind of thing just makes me want to kill the drivers.

    If they were on the clock and driving vehicles branded by Comcast, then Comcast is on the hook in my legally-uneducated opinion.

    I’ll bet the cops are waiting to see what happens with the little girl. If she dies, there’s second degree murder? negligent homicide? That’ll send their sorry asses to prison.

  62. DrGirlfriend says:

    @HaloZero: Outsourcing doesn’t just apply to sending jobs overseas. It applies to any company who uses a separate entity to provide employees.

    My best wishes to this little girl for a full recovery.

  63. Corydon says:

    Everybody who’s putting Comcast on the hook for how these two idiots acted are the people who are making all the mandatory “don’t do anything stupid” training that we all have to suffer through at work.

    What ever happened to common sense? Do we REALLY need lawyers telling us that drag racing down the street is a dumb idea?

    Next time you shake your head over a McDonald’s coffee cup labeled “WARNING: HOT!”, give yourself a dope slap because you are responsible for absolving individuals from having any responsibility for their own stupidity and putting the onus squarely on the big evil corporation.

    The kid is the innocent victim here. I hope she recovers fully.

    The would-be drag-racers are the villains, and I hope they rot in jail.

    And unless Comcast has policies that directly caused the drag racing in question, they’re no more responsible than my employer would be if I got a speeding ticket on my way in to work.

  64. Scatter says:

    Unless Comcast sponsored this drag-race I really don’t think they’re to blame for this nor does this story really need to be here. This story is basically about two irresponsible idiots who just happened to work for Comcast and all employers have idiots on their payroll.

  65. JohnMc says:

    Jay,

    Prayers for the family as they did not deserve this. Comcast shall pay.

    But please don’t blame outsourcing. The three most dangerous words in the english language are — “Hey Watch This!” That kind of stupidity knows no employment bounds. Would you feel better if the two jerks driving were W-2 employed by Comcast? Materially it does not matter to the family at large.

  66. Buran says:

    @howie_in_az: There was a donut shop on the road that exit led to…

    @Rectilinear Propagation: What, you mean the victims? (seriously, people, we were told to stop, yet in nearly every story, the victim-blaming continues unabated).

    @Scatter: Plenty of lawsuits in which employers are sued for hiring people who did something wrong show that there is in fact plenty of basis for blaming the employer.

    Comcast is now guilty of vehicular manslaughter if that girl doesn’t recover (I’m hoping she does!) and assault with a deadly weapon (the vehicle) if not… or whatever is the equivalent charge in that jurisdiction.

  67. Clarkins says:

    The idiots were driving company vehicles as I understand it from the article. The company provided that vehicle and allowed them to drive it.

    Comcast is on the hook just as I would have been driving the car Farmers Insurance provided me years ago and hit someone.

  68. Osi says:

    This is easy, like most stories on here.

    The family should of called up a lawyer after the girl was taken to care and on life support. And sue those two drivers out of existence.

    They should pay for all medical care (hospital, etc.) And if the girl is disabled due to this, these two should be required to pay for her care/needs/medical for the rest of her life.

    The only excuse for driving over the speed limit is if there was a medical emergency. No other exceptions.

  69. Lambasted says:

    This is an intentional action by the two individuals which was well beyond the scope of their employment and not Comcast’s fault unless the drivers had a history of this type of reckless behavior. I am quite sure Comcast will fire them to avoid any future liability for their actions.

    Since I cannot blame this incident on Comcast, I will blame them for my shitty TV reception and now my channels are messed up. One channel is televising shows of another. I’ve got two SciFi HD Channels. Time for yet another call into Comcast. Comcast sucks!!!

  70. It terrible what happened, but how did the kid get injured so severely compared to the rest of the family? Are they any pictures of the damaged car? I hope the kid was in a safety seat and buckled in otherwise these morons might be able to get off easier. Note: I’m am not placing any blame on the family just wondering.

  71. My last comment might have come off wrong. I am basically looking for more details on what happened and how how one passagener and get hurt so severely when compared to the others. I hope those drivers get life in jail

  72. exkon says:

    @Rectilinear Propagation: I understand that a company should be held accountable for their employees, but you’re telling me possible for a company to scan every single person for any behavioral problems?

    There’s a point that says, that person would just doing @#$@ from his own accord. For example, a Comcast worker just got dumped by his girlfriend while he’s working. He so angry just drives straight into a coffee shop injuring people. Who do you blame? Comcast or the driver? How is a company suppose to take responsibility for actions like that?

    There’s a fine line somewhere and sometimes it just easier to blame the larger target. No doubt that Comcast should fire those two and do something to help the little girl out.

  73. dariasofi says:

    Of course this had to happen in Alabama, where else?

  74. RothRandom says:

    @Diet-Orange-Soda: For reals. Like I said, “Another example of stupid people on the road.”

  75. Consumer007 says:

    ” At Comcast, the safety of our employees, customers, and the general public is a top priority.” Oh what the f- ever. If that were true these guys would have been fired on the spot. They have witnesses galore. A 3 year old is nearly dead. He should simply be arrested and charged with attempted vehicular homicide, plain and simple. It’s really unforgivable he’s not in jail already. Frickin dumbass redneck.

    And I hope this family gets millions from Com-Crash for her medical bills. I hope there are attorneys all over them on this.

  76. Bruce says:

    I’ll probably broil in Hell for saying this but…

    What was on the drivers minds??

    “Last one to Subway pays for the Fuckwiches!”

  77. Consumer007 says:

    And this is what we get in a society that plays Grand Theft Auto in its spare time…

  78. jsttheman says:

    @Consumer007: Why can’t it be their top priority? They have to be held responsible for something that they can’t control? It’s drivers like that that ruin a company when it’s not even the companies fault that it happened. Yes, most likely Comcast will be held legally responsible (because that’s how f’d up our society is, no one is held responsible for their OWN actions, always someone else’s fault) but under no circumstances should they be held morally responsible.

  79. @SkokieGuy: Yeah, I agree 100%. My husband used to drive big rig for a company called Priority, and their slogan was “Safety is our Priority”

    what a CROCK OF SHIT. They did anything BUT legal.

    And I can’t even imagine what this little girl is going thru, I have 3 young children, and I’d want to beat the kidneys out of these van jockeys. I hope this little girl pulls thru, and receives a lifetime of financial stability from it.

  80. Clarkins says:

    Comcast has insurance for crap like this I’m sure. If they were driving the company vehicle, which they were, then Comcast’ insurance company should be paying.

    Suing the two drivers won’t work. They were on the clock driving a company vehicle so thier personal auto insurance company won’t pay.

    Even if they get a judgement against the drivers, they’d still have to collect and I bet between the two they don’t have enough assets to pay for the first day on life support let alone long term care for her life.

  81. chartrule says:

    at the very least Comcast should be paying for everything that little girl needs for the rest of her lift

  82. marsneedsrabbits says:

    @hypochondriac:

    You’d have to start with the fact that everyone in the car is protected differently. The driver has seat belts and probably air bags.
    The older child may have either a seat belt or a booster seat and a belt. Possibly an airbag if she is in the front seat.
    The smaller child would (should) be in the back seat, in a car seat. If the car seat is hit hard enough, it can break the belts and fly forward.
    Where the van was hit is also a factor. If the van was hit right where she sat, it could have crushed her.
    Car seats/seatbelts/airbags are all great, and for the love of God, use them. But if a van doing 75 MPH hits a vehicle on the side, there is a fair chance someone may not make it regardless.

    Sometimes, there is no good reason, though. An acquaintance died years ago when everyone else in the crash (similar to this one) walked away shaken & bruised, but basically fine. Her liver split in two from the impact. She was wearing a seatbelt. Why her and not everyone else?

  83. Munsoned says:

    The level of “fail” in this thread is so overwhelming it’s giving me vertigo.

  84. Munsoned says:

    BTW, I’m a firm believer in evolution. My belief is that Darwin will weed out drag racers one way or another. We can only hope that they don’t take too many more innocents with them in the process.

  85. tristax says:

    I’m going to go on a limb and say that the Comcast connection is immaterial, and a more apt headline should read: “Two Dragracing Vans That Happen To Be Comcast Vans Cause Accident That Seriously Injures 3-Yr-Old Girl”. That’s just my opinion.

    @SkokieGuy: Now, this is a good suggestion.
    @sleze69: How do you infer this?
    @heavylee-again: This hits on some of the crucial subtleties at play here.
    @Buran: This needs to be fleshed out. How does acting in the service of someone make them liable?
    @TheManator: We get it: you hate big companies. I’m glad this girl’s injury feeds your anti-corporate bloodlust. Now, contribute some thought.

  86. u1itn0w2day says:

    The cable industry from it’s inception has been notorious for it’s use and abuse of contractors.But that is part of the problem today with the frequently reckless & negligent employees.If your company is used to using contractors controllng regular employees is going to be that much harder.

    Lack of safety enforcement on simple smaller issues leads to crap like this.If you compare a local phone or power company set up vs a cable company set up it’s night and day.I frequently see cable techs up a pole with a ladder on a cable with no hard hat,no work gloves,not belted in,no safety cones around the work area-especially underneath where something could drop on someone.I’ve seen them work on busy streets with no or few cones,no men working signs and I’ve seen bucket trucks swing over the street-if a big truck comes by that bucket is toast.

    The point being if Comcast or any other company tolerates safety issues like this what makes you think they won’t try something like drag racing.SAFETY needs to become an issue to the point where if you nit pick the small stuff the big stuff will be less likely to happen.

  87. tristax says:

    @Rectilinear Propagation: Because two Consumerist stories reflect the actions of all Comcast employees…

  88. kingofmars says:

    @SkokieGuy:Too true. I knnow that verizon has gps units on all the service trucks, and makes it clear in the safety training that if a verizon employee gets into an accident, he’s at fault. Even if somebody rear ends you. Better training could have prevented this. That an not hiring idiots.

  89. 2 Comcast Cable vans were racing each other at speeds of over 75mph which caused an accident that put 3-year-old Kayleen Smith (pictured left) on life support.

    And with that, I’d like to reference the movie Hot Fuzz: We no longer refer to them as accidents. They are instead called Traffic collisions. Accidents imply that no one is at fault.

  90. Consumer007 says:

    Question on the Comcast Contractor Employment Application. Your work buddy Jethro gets all up in your face, makes the capital L sign on your forehead and challenges you to Speed Racer it on over to the next gig, dude. Do you…

    A. Call in to your boss and ask him to race Jethro instead

    B. Let him go and later slash the tires on Jethro’s ride man. That’ll show him.

    C. Do Jethro’s babe-a-licious girlfriend Sally Fae when he isn’t looking in the bathroom at the office party.

    D. Chill out and snort some more lines and get back to work…
    what a high dude.

  91. WingZero987 says:

    Another semi-dishonest headline.

    Keep on pushing those moderate, reasonable Consumerist readers away! GOOD JOB!

  92. thats a f*cking comcastrophe. The drivers deserve every bit of whats coming to them (regardless of who their employer is)

  93. actual.consumerist says:

    @WingZero987: You’re working late, does Comcast pay you overtime? What part of “Two Dragracing Comcast Vans Cause Accident That Seriously Injures 3-Yr-Old Girl” is dishonest? Is she actually 3 and a half years old?

  94. snoldak924 says:

    IANAL (yet), but this may fall under strict liability if they were on a service call or returning from one. In that case, Comcast would be fully liable.

  95. mythago says:

    I don’t believe in big punitive awards

    Do you also not believe in long jail terms? The whole point of punitive damages is to go beyond restitution when somebody has acted really, really REALLY badly. For example, if Comcast managers encouraged racing their vans and had some kind of betting pool on them.

    I hope the little girl has a miraculous recovery, and the asshole who hit her spends a long time learning the meaning of “difficult to hire a person who has a felony record”.

  96. Good journalism is about separating emotion from fact.

    Change one significant fact. What would be the headline if those idiot drivers had been unemployed idiot drivers? Would the story have even make this website? I think not.

    So the “story” is on this website is about Comcast, as idiot drivers is not the purpose of the story because removing Comcast from the story would remove the story as well.

    Is Comcast unique in hiring idiot drivers? I think not.

    Let’s assume that 1% of all drivers are idiot drivers. I bet Comcast has more than 200 direct employees working for the company. If I am correct there is a good chance that Comcast has employeed at least two idiot drivers. The same could be said for just about every company with more than 200 employees. Idiot drivers are idiot drivers. Training, supervision and corporate policies are not the issue because idiot drivers will always be idiot drivers.

    Bottom line, is Comcast unique with regards to idiot drivers? No.

    So what makes this story appropriate to mention Comcast’s name? Is there any reason other than editorial hatred of the company? Like I said, good journalism is separating emotion from fact, something The Consumerist does not always do a good job performing.

    Is there a potential for a news story for The Consumerist? By all means yes, especially IF Comcast fails to fire the idiot drivers OR if somebody can prove that Comcast intentionally told these two idiots to race.

    Other than finding a smoking gun of corporate misconduct there is no reason for this story to be posted to this website.

  97. bb2003md says:

    As a current Comcast employee in Maryland, I feel really bad that this happened. I really hope the little girl pulls through. It makes me really sad to hear of any stories like these, whether it involves the company that I work for or some other company that was involved.

    I fully believe the “drivers” should be held accountable for their actions. If the rate of speed can be proved and charges are able to be filed, they should have to pay for the mistake.

    I guess my only question and frustration about alot of the posts above is that there are many of you that didn’t even mention a goddamn thing about the little girl. Sure, you may be really pissed off that Comcast is the only CATV provider in your area and you feel you are getting ripped off. But lets not forget the real tragedy here.

    There is a little girl that is fighting for her life right now and many of you just want to have a bitch-fest about Best Buy, Comcast and other companies.

    Let’s get real people. Which is more important, bitching about a company or sending a card to the hospital for the little girls’ family? I am sure you can get off your ass just once and do something selfless. I know I can, even if you are the ones that fund my paycheck.

    Judging a company, organization or a group of people as a whole is wrong and in this day and age one would think that adults would act like they are adults.

    Send a card or flowers, I dare you…

  98. ChuckECheese says:

    @tristax: Dear Dr. Tristax: May I register for your seminar in Philosophy of Ethics 341: Comcastic Ontologies?

  99. Buran says:

    @tristax: Because you are acting on behalf of your employer, it is as if, in the eyes of the law, your employer committed this offense since your employer is responsible for your actions (or, probably better worded, your actions are in their name).

  100. ConRoo says:

    This is a sad story, but why is it on the Consumerist?

  101. elephantattack says:

    @DashTheHand: “First one to the stoplight gets a million dollar paycheck.”

    As he watches from one of the satellites he took offline to watch the race…

    GREAT COMMENT :)

  102. adriadne says:

    @DashTheHand:

    I think it’s part and parcel of the idiots Comcast hires in general and the poor management that keeps them in their jobs.

  103. moore850 says:

    That ought to bump Comcast up a few pegs in the worst company contest… drag racing in comcast vans and crashing into a little kid? The humanity!

  104. radio1 says:

    It never looks good for Comcast.

    But, were these guys actual Comcast employees or contractors? Every time I see a ‘Comcast’ van for installing something, it is always a contractor with a magnetic Comcast sign and their own name under it…

    The only time I ever see a real Comcast van is when some serious work needs to be done at the pole or soemthing like that.

    Still, these two douche bags should rot in hell.

  105. tristax says:

    @Buran: Thanks for spelling things out. This principle, if applied strictly, doesn’t sit easy with me. But I’m curious of the way the common law has dealt with this issue. What we could really use is a list of similar cases… But that is really beyond the scope of this thread.

    @ChuckECheese: I don’t know how to read that comment.

    @JohnMc: Great line.

  106. milk says:

    If their drivers are contracted out (just judging by other comments), more than likely there is an indemnity clause in their contract freeing Comcast of any responsibility due to the contractor’s negligence. Any good Comcast contract would require their contractor to conduct background checks and driving record checks on their employees, and ensure they have a license of course. Beyond that it’s legally not Comcast’s fault (again, if they’re using a contractor).

  107. Of course Comcast is to blame. If they had better quality control when selecting contractors (or employees, for that matter) a lot of this stupid crap wouldn’t be happening. Quit taking the side of Comcast people, we’re not supposed to!

    Worst Company in America 2008, Comcast FTW!

  108. Buran says:

    @me and the sysop: That, however, is part of why they’re legally liable — at least as far as some cases I’ve seen in the news go — because background checks are conducted first, the company gets nailed to the wall because they were then supposed to have not hired people who would do bad things. They did anyway, hence they lose millions when victims of their employees sue.

  109. graymulligan says:

    It seems that some folks are confusing how the liability for people working for a company works.

    If I’m on the clock, and I walk outside into the parking lot and start shooting at random cars going by, is it me that’s liable, or my company. Because after all, I’m “on the clock”.

    These 2 clowns caused an accident while doing something outside the scope of their jobs. Comcast, as much as I want to see them suffer like everyone else, is not responsible for individuals acting outside their work capacity.

    If they were on a roof installing a dish and their ladder fell on a kid, and hurt them, that’s a Comcast issue. Employee in their work capacity hurt someone. Not street racing.

  110. tristax says:

    @LucasAnderson: Quit seeing sides. This site, as I interpret it (I’ve been reading it for a month), is about consumer protection. Basic consumer protection to me implies some pretty basic principles about the relationship between a company and their customer, and more than anything, we should try to stick to these principles. We shouldn’t dislike large successful companies because they occasionally rip us off; we should be responding to one’s that treat their customers in an unfair or illegal manner.

    And the question here is whether Comcast did something unfair or illegal. Certainly, their agents severely affected a child’s quality of life. Litigation will sort out who is to blame and we can only speculate on the relevance of Comcast to the whole case. However, using cases like this to merely fuel our hatred (hatred, not outrage, that’s different) for particular companies is juvenile.

  111. battra92 says:

    @RBecho: I hope this little girl pulls through, but we can’t really blame Comcast for this. However, we can blame the idiot’s behind the wheel and hope they get what’s coming to them (jail time and firings).

    I agree 100%

  112. concernedcitizen says:

    I pray that this beautiful little girl recovers 100%. I agree that this is a terrible tragedy. But how many times have you read or heard something in the news that wasn’t quite true? A few years ago, my son ran a stop sign and hit a car. Thank God no one was injured but him. It was all over the news that he was drag racing and drunk. He wasn’t. I have the police report and eye witnesses to prove he was not drunk,he just wasn’t paying attention. He paid severely for his mistake, as he should. But before I can judge the driver of the Comcast van, I need to know ALL of the facts. Let’s remember that there is always two sides of the story. It will come out in the investigation. And when the truth comes out, will the news report it? They never did for my son. Since this happened to my son, I’ve always been wary of what to believe in the news. But still, the most important thing here is the little girl. Let’s all say a prayer for her and then we’ll deal with the comcast driver.

  113. Let’s blame the company who made the vans, too, they’re obviously just as liable for this as Comcast is.