Randall Co. man awarded $8.9 million after 2011 fiery crash

Bobby Tunnell’s life changed dramatically on August 3, 2011, when the truck he was a passenger in hit a cow roaming on Dowell Road, flipped eight times and trapped him inside. (ABC 7 Amarillo-Tiffany Lester)

The victim of a fiery crash back in 2011 is speaking to ABC 7 Amarillo cameras only.

The interview comes after a judge ruled in his favor, awarding him nearly $9 million dollars.

“You're amazed at all the things it takes two hands to do,” said plaintiff Bobby Tunnell.

Tunnell’s life changed dramatically on August 3, 2011 when the truck he was a passenger in hit a cow roaming on Dowell Road, flipped eight times and trapped him inside.

Tunnell’s son who was driving and a passer-by pulled him from the truck just minutes before it exploded.

Among Tunnell’s long list on injuries are skull and facial fractures, brain swelling, and the inability to use his right arm.

“Making a bed is very difficult, washing dishes, you can't do because you don't have a hand to hold the other. I mean, zipping your pants is a pain, you always ache or hurt, but you just have to go on,” Tunnell said.

“The truck was on fire and but for the fact that his son was able to pull him from the wreckage along with another passerby, Bobby would have burned to death,” said Tunnell’s attorney Dean Boyd.

After five and a half years and eight different trial settings, a judge awarded Tunnell $8.9 million Friday.

Court documents how the judge ruled the owner of the cow, Dr. Richard Archer negligent.

Boyd said this wasn’t the first incident one of Archer’s cows was involved in.

“There was testimony that another car on that road had hit one of Dr. Archer's cows and that was before this wreck, so our argument and what we proved at trial was that Dr. Archer owned the cow that was on the road, he knew his cows were getting out and he didn't take care of it,” Boyd said.

ABC 7 Amarillo reached out to Archer who said, "It's insanity to say that I was responsible for that man's injuries.”

Despite getting a satisfactory ruling in the trial, Tunnell and his lawyer said there’s still a long road ahead of them and it's not worth the pain and suffering.

“The defendant in any trial has the option to file a motion for new trial, file an appeal, file bankruptcy. We have a long, long, long way to go,” said Boyd.

“You have to look at it, I guess, as one day at time and that's all you can do. You have to stay out of your own head. If you can stay out of your own head, you can survive this,” Tunnell said.

Damages rewarded to Tunnell are:

  • $704,000 for past medical bills
  • $300,000 for future medical bills
  • $75,000 for past lost wages
  • $375,000 for future lost wages
  • $1 million for past pain and suffering
  • $1.5 million for future pain and suffering
  • $1 million for past mental anguish
  • $1.5 million for future mental anguish
  • $2.5 million for Tunnell's body disfigurement
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