Unscrupulous Maryland Repair Garages Can be Liable for Trucking Accidents Caused by Poor Maintenance, Fraud

To some repair garages, dishonest trucking companies and thoughtless semi tractor-trailer drivers, saving some cash now is worth the risk of causing a serious traffic accident in the future. Cause and effect are not always considered by unscrupulous garage owners and the semi truck drivers that employ them. But the dangers are real and the results can be deadly in many cases.

As Baltimore trucking accident attorneys, our office helps the victims of 18-wheeler and commercial big-rig accidents. For those unfortunate families who have lost a loved one as a result of another person’s negligence, emotions can run very high especially when deception and outright fraud are involved.

This was apparently the situation in a case where the owner of a repair garage allegedly sold inspection stickers for a 1997 Kenworth semi with worn brakes that killed a motorist along the Schuylkill Expressway in 2009. New reports say that the garage owner, 62-year-old Joseph Jadczak pled guilty in 2009 to vehicular homicide and also to permitting the operation of a motor vehicle equipped with unsafe equipment.

An investigation of the tractor-trailer rig involved in that truck crash showed that each of the vehicle’s ten brakes were all severely worn. Despite this, and to the apparent astonishment of the investigators, the rig possessed all of its current and up-to-date inspection stickers. The scary part is that this truck was stopped by police in Maryland and three other states before the accident that claimed the life of 49-year-old David Schreffler on January 23, 2009, in Pennsylvania.

That accident, which occurred on I-76 resulted in the truck being unable to stop with a reported load of 74,000 pounds and then plowing into six cars including the deceased victim’s vehicle. Police reports show that the driver, 56-year-old Valerijs Belovs, had to use the truck’s emergency brake to slow the vehicle, but not enough to avoid the fatal crash.

According to reports, Belovs and the trucking company’s owner, Victor Kalinitchii, pleaded guilty last year to vehicular homicide. The driver was sentenced to time served (just over three months in prison) and was released following his April sentencing hearing. Kalinitchii, who reportedly ordered Belovs to drive cross-country in the truck knowing the brakes were defective, was sentenced to 11 1/2 to 23 months by Judge Thomas C. Branca that same day.

Garage owner petitions to withdraw guilty plea, TimesHerald.com, May 12, 2010

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