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Family sues suspects, car club in fatal racing crash

Updated: Mar. 9, 2020 at 12:11 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - The family of a man killed in a crash on Feb. 24, 2020 is suing three people accused of street racing at the time of the crash. They are also suing the car club the suspects are believed to be a part of. They are seeking more than $1 million in monetary relief, according to the civil suit filed on Friday by Liggett Law Firm.

The suit claims wrongful death for 69-year-old Howard Wright.

Howard Wright
Howard Wright(Liggett Law Group)

The crash happened just before 3 p.m. Feb. 24 in the 7500 block of Slide Road.

The lawsuit says three members of Muscle Mayhem were illegally racing on Slide Road. The members have been identified as 19-year-old Xavier Montalvo, 24-year-old Luis Salinas and 28-year-old Anthony Martin. Montalvo was operating a 2018 Dodge Charger while engaging in a street race with Salinas and Martin. They were traveling southbound on the 7400 block of Slide Road. During the street race, the defendant’s vehicles reached speeds 50 miles per hour above the posted speed limit. As the race was taking place, Howard Wright was operating his vehicle and was stopped in observance of a stop sign, waiting to turn left at the intersection of 75th and Slide Rd. As Wright attempted to turn left onto Slide Road, Montalvo “violently” collided with Wright’s vehicle.

19-year-old Xavier Montalvo was arrested on warrants for racing on a highway causing death and...
19-year-old Xavier Montalvo was arrested on warrants for racing on a highway causing death and manslaughter, and 28-year-old Anthony Martin and 24-year-old Luis Salinas were arrested on warrants for racing on a highway causing death.(Lubbock County Detention Center)

The lawsuit says Muscle Mayhem is a social organization whose members race their vehicles against each other in the streets of Lubbock. They claim the car club uses its online forum and membership to help facilitate these races. They also provide an online forum to post about these illegal races to encourage more races and to recruit members.

The arrest warrants for the three suspects say the three vehicles involved were all seen by investigators on the Muscle Mayhem Facebook page. After the suspects were questioned about the Facebook page, the warrant states the Muscle Mayhem Facebook page has removed all videos associated with street racing and reckless acts from the page.

Slide road and 73rd Street crash
Slide road and 73rd Street crash(KCBD)

The warrant also states Montalvo’s vehicle, which is the vehicle that collided with Howard Wright’s vehicle, was going 94 miles per hour at the time of the crash. This information was obtained as the vehicle was being processed by the Lubbock Police Department. The posted speed limit on Slide Road is 45 miles per hour.

According to information provided by the Lubbock Police Department, Montalvo was arrested on warrants for racing on a highway causing death and manslaughter, and Martin and Salinas were arrested on warrants for racing on a highway causing death.

The civil suit claims Montalvo was guilty of one or more of the following:

  • In failing to keep such lookout as a person of ordinary prudence would have kept under the same or similar circumstances.
  • In failing to timely apply the brakes to his vehicle in order to avoid the collision in question.
  • In failing to keep his vehicle under proper control so as to avoid the collision in question.
  • In failing to operate his vehicle with due regard for the rights of others.
  • In failing to operate his vehicle in a safe manner.
  • In failing to yield the right of way or take such other evasive action so as to avoid the collision in question.
  • In failing to sound his horn or warn the decedent in any other manner of Defendant’s inability to stop.
  • In failing to duty to use the degree of care that a reasonably careful person would use to avoid harm to others under circumstances similar to those faced by the Defendant.
  • In “failing to control speed” as that act is prohibited under the Texas Transportation Code Ann. Sec. 545.351.
  • In “racing on a highway” as that act is prohibited under the Texas Transportation Code Ann. Sec. 545.420.

The lawsuit says Salinas and Martin were guilty of one or more of the following:

  • In failing to operate his vehicle with due regard for the rights of others.
  • In failing to operate his vehicle in a safe manner.
  • to avoid harm to others under circumstances similar to those faced by Defendant.
  • In “failing to control speed” as that act is prohibited under the Texas Transportation Code Ann. Sec. 545.351.
  • In “racing on a highway” as that act is prohibited under the Texas Transportation Code Ann. Sec. 545.420.
  • In “failing to stop and render aid” as that act is prohibited under the Texas Transportation Code Ann. Sec. 550.021-.023.

The Lubbock Police Department issued a news release Monday, March 9, 2020 stating a news conference will be held at 1:30 p.m. about the drastic increase of vehicles racing in the community. Representatives from the Lubbock County Sheriff’s Office, Department of Public Safety and the Lubbock County District Attorney’s Office will be in attendance.

The news release states, “In 2020, LPD has responded to 48 calls for service, a 28 percent increase since last year. Due to the increased occurrences of racing, local law enforcement agencies are partnering together to help make our streets safer for the citizens of Lubbock.”

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