A truck driver who logged 50 straight hours driving from Kentucky to Florida has been charged for a crash that occurred on the return trip, in which six people were killed and several others injured. It was also after the truck itself had two mechanical failures early on in the trip – one with the brakes, and another with the fuel delivery system.
The fatal crash occurred on I-75 in Tennessee – and this was after the trucker allegedly sideswiped another commercial truck while on that illegally long haul in Florida. He was purportedly high on crystal meth at the time of the second crash, authorities say.
Investigators say on the day of the fatal crash, the driver had only logged off work for 12 hours after his 50-hour shift and returned to the road. At that point, he’d been driving for 15 hours when, at 77-miles-per-hour in a 55-mile-per-hour zone, he slammed into traffic that had slowed ahead of a heavy construction zone. The truck driver struck numerous vehicles with his tractor-trailer. Ultimately, six people lost their lives and four others were seriously injured.
Now that the toxicology test results are back, a grand jury has indicted the truck driver on 13 criminal counts, which include six counts of vehicular homicide by impairment, four counts of reckless aggravated assault, one count of driving under the influence of narcotics and one count of speeding. He also was cited for false report of duty status.
Although there were no injuries from the Florida crash, he was charged with careless driving for that incident.
But authorities in Kansas have no said they cannot find him, and he is considered a fugitive. A warrant has been issued.
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration hours of service rules hold that a trucker may only drive up to 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off-duty. Further, they may not drive more than 60 hours in seven consecutive days or 70 hours in eight consecutive days. The time only restarts after taking at least 34 consecutive hours off-duty.
Now in addition to the criminal charges and likely sanctions from the FMCSA, two personal injury lawsuits have been filed. One lawsuit seeks $14.75 million and the other $12.75 million. Both plaintiffs allege the trucking company that hired this driver was negligent in doing so, and failed to perform adequate drug and alcohol testing on him following the crash that occurred in Florida. Such drug testing is required by federal law. The FMCSA requires drivers be tested post-accident if the driver has been cited for a work-related accident.
In addition, plaintiffs allege he had a criminal history, and was not properly vetted before he was allowed to drive this large truck across the country.
The second lawsuit seeks an injunction to shut down the trucking company until the courts can hold a hearing to compel the company to turn over records pertaining to criminal background checks and safety history of the drivers who are still operational at the firm.
Plaintiffs assert that had the company followed federal law and basic standards of care, this fatal truck crash could have been prevented.
Call Freeman Injury Law — 1-800-561-7777 for a free appointment to discuss your rights.
Second lawsuit filed against truck driver, company in fatal June crash, Aug. 5, 2015, By Sara Sidery, WRCBtv.com
More Blog Entries:
Report: High-Speed Chases Maim, Kill Innocents, Aug. 3, 2015, Orlando Truck Accident Lawyer Blog