When it comes to traffic accidents, a passenger car and its occupants are no match for a semi tractor-trailer that crashes into it. But even the driver or passenger of an 18-wheeler may be at risk on the highway when another commercial truck, such as a Kenworth, Peterbilt or Freightliner, gets into trouble on the road.
As a Maryland trucking accident attorney and personal injury lawyer, I know from professional experience the types of property damage and bodily injuries that can result from big rigs crashes. And the danger is posed not only by the truck itself but the trailer and its typically heavy load. When a semi trailer losses its load on the highway, a serious accident can be just split seconds away.
An example of what can happen when a commercial over-the-road hauler dumps its load onto the roadway occurred not long ago along a stretch of Interstate 70 near Maryland’s Rte 66. According to news accounts, the wife of an out-of-state truck driver riding in her husband’s rig was seriously hurt when steel beams from another truck smashed into the couple’s tractor-trailer on a Wednesday morning. It’s amazing that someone wasn’t killed as a result of the aaccident.
The woman, 45-year-old Evonne J. Whalen, was reportedly riding in the passenger seat of her husband’s Freightliner when a couple structural beams fell into the eastbound lanes of the interstate. Those two huge pieces of steel weighing thousands of pounds apparently crashed into the passenger side of Whalen’s Freightliner, seriously injuring the woman’s legs and effectively pinning her inside the cab.
Emergency responders arriving on the scene required almost 45 minutes to extricate the woman from the damaged vehicle. According to Maryland State Police, the operator of the boom truck was attempting to lift the support beams from the trailer bed when he somehow lost control of the load causing the large pieces of steel to spin into the travel lanes of the interstate. There was no mention of where the boom mechanism or some other equipment was defective or failed to operate correctly.
Whalen and her husband were both transported to Washington County Hospital in Hagerstown where they were treated. Mr. Whalen was soon released from the hospital, however his wife was later transferred to the R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore. In critical condition later that day, Mrs. Whalen reportedly lost both of her legs when doctors decided that they had to be amputated as a result of extensive damage from the accident.
At the time of the article, the accident was still being investigated with charges against the boom truck driver and his employer, RNG Construction, pending based on a consultation with the Washington County State Attorney’s office. The Maryland State Occupational Safety and Health Administration was also looking into the incident.
Kentucky woman taken to shock trauma center in Baltimore after accident, TheRecordHerald.com, July 15, 2010