It goes without saying that commercial trucks can cause horrendous injuries in the event of a traffic accident with a passenger vehicle such as a sedan, minivan, SUV or pickup truck. But just consider the effect that a similar crash — involving a delivery truck, 18-wheel semi or dump truck — might have on a pedestrian or motorcyclist involved in traffic collision.
Considering that the relatively protected occupants of these smaller motor vehicles can still receive terrible injuries or even be killed outright in a commercial trucking accident, imagine how small the chances for survival would be for a person on foot, riding a bicycle or traveling on a moped, scooter or full-size motorcycle involved in a similar roadway collision.
As Baltimore automobile accident attorneys and Washington, D.C., personal injury lawyers, we represent numerous clients from around the state of Maryland and the District. We understand all too well the deadly force that a 20-ton tractor-trailer can impart to a much smaller, 3,000-pound passenger vehicle
Commercial drivers have much the same responsibilities as other non-professional drivers on the road. But they also have the duty to maintain and operate their vehicles per federal regulations, all of which have been designed to help keep the public safe from injury or death due to negligence or other careless actions.
While it is common to see news stories about 18-wheel tractor-trailer rigs — such as Peterbilts and Freightliners — that go out of control on the interstate and causing untold misery, other commercial vehicles can cause injury or untimely death when not driven correctly or with the public welfare in mind.
A recent news item caught our attention in regard to the latter of these scenarios. According to reports, a resident of Pasadena, MD, came forward and admitted to police that it was his vehicle that struck and fatally injured 77-year-old Richard Oles last January. Based on police reports, the hit-and-run traffic accident took place in the early morning hours of January 27, at which time Oles was hit by the Ford F-350 fitted with a snow plow and driven by 21-year-old Maximilian Bode.
Bode, who reportedly left the scene of the accident, pled guilty earlier this month to the hit-and-run aspect of the crash, although four other counts including drinking and driving were reportedly going to be dropped. A November sentencing hearing could result in Bode serving a maximum five-year prison term and receiving a $5,000 fine.
Authorities were alerted to the fatal truck accident back in January when one of the three passengers in Bode’s truck dialed 911 to report the crash sometime after 2am near Hog Neck Rd. Although the unnamed woman who made the call reportedly did not state that she was in the vehicle that hit the pedestrian, the 911 operator could hear voices in background shouting at someone to “stop the truck.”
One of the more damning pieces of evidence was the fact that the caller told the 911 operator dispatcher that she and others were on their way home from a pub on Hog Neck. Following the crash investigation, security video from the pub indicated that police should be looking for a plow-equipped Ford F-350 pickup truck, the same as Bode was driving at the time of the accident.
Police later located the truck and its owner. At first, Bode would not admit that his had struck Oles, but later stated that he had “clipped” a pedestrian who was walking with traffic. Following his admission, Bode was charged with the fatal traffic accident last April.
The morning of the crash, Oles reportedly was in the process of walking four miles to his home from a gas station where he had left his disabled vehicle. Following the collision, the elderly man was taken to the hospital where he later succumbed to his injuries.
Pasadena man admits hitting fencing coach with snowplow, BaltimoreSun.com, September 1, 2011