For many drivers and occupants of passenger cars, light trucks, SUVs and motorcycles, there is nothing quite as frightening as a traffic accident involving a 50,000-pound semi tractor-trailer rig. With 15-times the curb weight of an average sport utility vehicle, these large commercial vehicles can literally crush a passenger car during a high-speed highway collision.
Here in Baltimore, it’s not uncommon to see these huge vehicles mixing with motor vehicles of all sizes, not to mention scooters, bicycles and pedestrians on foot. The opportunity for a serious accident involving a commercial delivery truck, box truck or the aforementioned 18-wheel semi is ever-present. As Maryland personal injury attorneys, we fully understand how people become injured in trucking wrecks.
And, because of the shear size and mass of these large vehicles, we often read of fatal accidents involving Kenworths, Peterbilts, and Mack trucks. Being auto accident lawyers serving Maryland and Washington, D.C., residents, we have the training and legal skills to represent clients who have been injured in trucking accidents or have lost a loved one in such a highway wreck.
Earlier this month, a woman who was co-driving an 18-wheeler was tragically killed when the vehicle she was working on was hit by a commercial towing truck along a stretch of Interstate 70 near the Frederick County line. The crash occurred around noontime on a Monday, after the semi on which she worked pulled over on the shoulder of the interstate due to an overheating problem.
According to police reports, the female co-driver got out of the truck’s cab to make some adjustment on the outside of the vehicle as it was parked alongside I-70. Moments later, the semi was struck from behind by the flat-bed tow truck; the force of the crash reportedly threw the victim into a nearby guardrail.
Based on news reports, the tractor-trailer was going up South Mountain and pulled off onto the shoulder of I-70 around the 37mi. marker. The preliminary police investigation showed that the tow truck was driving in the right-hand lane when, for some reason, it apparently drifted or veered off the roadway and onto the shoulder right at the point where the semi was parked.
The victim, who police had not yet released the name of at the time of the news article, was reportedly working at the front of the semi when the collision happened. When the tow truck hit, the tractor portion of the 18-wheeler was pushed forward causing the woman to be thrown against the guardrail, inflicting critical and fatal injuries.
Although the Maryland State Police did not know at the time of the article what may have caused the tow truck to leave the interstate and smash into the semi, driver error would likely be one of the primary assumptions. According to police, witnesses to the accident stated that they saw no cars or other vehicles in close proximity to the tow truck that might have caused the driver to veer off. As with any investigation, police will have to rule out defective equipment or other mechanical problem that may have contributed to the crash.
Both the victim and the tow truck driver, whose injuries were not life-threatening, were flown to Meritus Medical Center for treatment. Sadly, the woman was pronounced dead after arrival at the hospital near Hagerstown. The other co-driver inside the rig was reportedly unhurt in the crash.
Woman killed on I-70 when tow truck hits tractor-trailer, Herald-Mail.com, August 8, 2011