Crash Between Several Large Trucks Near Rolla Kills Passenger and Hospitalizes Driver

By May 24, 2011 July 18th, 2019 Trucking Accidents

As a Missouri tractor-trailer accident attorney, I was surprised to see an article about a crash that took place almost entirely between interstate trucks. According to a May 21 article from the Springfield News-Leader, the four-vehicle crash killed Anthony Butler, 44, of Memphis, Tenn. Butler was a passenger in a semi that ran off the road on eastbound Interstate 44 in Phelps County, hitting two separate parked semi trailers as well as a passenger car. None of the people in those vehicles suffered serious injuries, but the driver of the runaway truck, Kevin Cavanaugh, 23, suffered serious injuries. The two men from the trucks were treated for minor injuries at the Phelps County Regional Medical Center.
The crash happened around 2:55 a.m. near a rest area on Interstate 44 around mile marker 178. It was unclear why Cavanaugh, of Phoenix, ran off the road, but his rig first hit a parked semi truck driven by Cody McKee, 35, of Fort Smith. Cavanaugh’s truck then hit another parked truck with Troy Coffelt, 51, of Springdale, Ark. McKee and Coffelt both suffered minor injuries as a result. Cavanaugh’s big rig also hit a 2011 Volvo, but the article said no one in that vehicle was injured. Butler was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead after the accident; he was not wearing a seat belt. Cavanaugh was airlifted to Barnes Hospital in St. Louis with serious injuries. The article did not specify whether authorities planned to ticket or charge Cavanaugh.
Of course, figuring out the cause of this crash is for the Missouri Highway Patrol, and the truckers’ insurance companies, to do. But as a southern Illinois semi truck accident lawyer, I suspect the lateness of the hour had something to do with it. Federal law requires truckers to get a certain amount of rest in between stints of driving, because fatigued driving causes bad decisions that can kill or seriously injure other people in traffic. If Cavanaugh was trying to push too far past his fatigue, and especially if he was past his hours of service for the day, he may have caused exactly the kind of accident that those laws are intended to prevent. It’s lucky that he hit the parked trucks — whose drivers were probably following the rules about rest — rather than cars, which a runaway big rig could easily have crushed in an accident.


If your family has been affected by a trucking accident you believe was caused by the trucker’s neglect, get in touch with Carey, Danis & Lowe today for a free consultation. We have a special practice representing victims of serious trucking accidents, because those victims are often much more seriously injured than victims of similar car crashes. An 18-wheeler is much, much heavier than a sedan or even a pickup — and when it hits the smaller vehicle, it can leave the people inside dead, brain-damaged or otherwise catastrophically injured. Our St. Louis tanker truck accident attorneys hold careless truckers and their trucking companies legally liable for that damage, and its financial and emotional effects on victims and their families.
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