An Illinois trucker recently pleaded guilty to charges stemming from the accident he was involved in which left a pregnant mother, her husband, and their two children dead.
The tractor-trailer driver slammed into the back of stopped traffic on a major highway in Nebraska, instantly killing a Maryland family who was in the process of moving to California.
According to paperwork filed by the relevant County Attorney’s office, the driver agreed to a deal with prosecutors, whereby he will plead guilty to four counts of motor vehicle homicide and one count of motor vehicle homicide of an unborn fetus in exchange for prosecutors recommending an aggregate sentence of no more than 20 years.
The accident occurred when the driver failed to slow down in an area where crews were tending to an earlier fatal accident, and traffic was completely stopped. His truck plowed into the back of a Ford Mustang, which was driven by the father of the young children. The Mustang then forced the Corolla in front of him, driven by his wife, forward and then underneath the trailer of a truck that was stopped in front of her car. Both cars then burst into flames. The mother was approximately 30 weeks pregnant, and died with her husband and their two and three-year-old sons.
Investigators believe that the driver was asleep at the wheel when the crash occurred. According to testimony, evidence showed that the driver did not slow down as he approached the stopped traffic on the interstate. Traffic was at a standstill due to a prior fatal accident that occurred earlier in the day. Specifically, a post-crash inspector testified that his investigation revealed that the driver had left his starting point at three o’clock the prior afternoon, and was on duty until the early morning crash, which occurred nearly 15 hours later. Investigators believe he drove the 15 hours non-stop. Witnesses believe he was travelling at 75 miles per hour at the time of the collision.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, commercial drivers of trucks carrying property may only drive for a period of 11 hours during a 14 hour consecutive period, and are then required to take a minimum 10 hour rest break.
Unfortunately, driver fatigue is one of the main causes in many trucking accidents. As professionals, truck drivers are required to adhere to specific federal and state safety regulations, which include the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. However, some trucking companies provide incentives for drivers to deliver cargo on time or ahead of schedule, causing the drivers to sacrifice safety for the sake of speed. When this happens, both the driver and the company that employs the driver can potentially be held accountable for any injuries sustained as a result of driver exhaustion. Although this particular story focuses on the criminal liability for the driver, a civil claim on the same basis may be a possibility for survivors of the young family.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a trucking accident that occurred in the Maryland or Washington D.C. area, contact the experienced trucking accident attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC today. Our Maryland trucking accident attorneys are dedicated to representing victims of trucking accidents, and we will fight to recover the damages you deserve. Contact us today in order to schedule your free initial consultation. You can reach us through our website, or by calling 1-800-654-1949.
More Blog Posts:
Tractor Trailer Collision and Fire on I-95, Maryland Trucking Accident Lawyer Blog, published August 28, 2013
National Report Released Regarding Chesapeake Bay Bridge Accident, Maryland Trucking Accident Lawyer Blog, published August 21, 2013