As a Missouri semi truck accident attorney, I was not surprised to see that the Oklahoma authorities have charged Donald Creed with ten counts of misdemeanor negligent homicide in June’s Interstate 40 tragedy. As I have written here before, Creed was driving a truck for Associated Wholesale Grocers of Kansas City when he failed to stop for traffic ahead, plowing into six stopped cars near the Okalahoma-Missouri border. Now, the Oklahoman reported Sept. 22, prosecutors have charged Creed, 76, with ten counts of misdemeanor negligent homicide, one for each of the victims. Each charge carries a maximum of a year in jail. The newspaper said Creed planned to turn himself in Sept. 23.
A prosecutor for Ottawa County, Oklahoma, told the newspaper that his office would have considered felony charges for Creed if there had been evidence that Creed was driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. However, investigators have not turned up any reason for the accident other than inattention, such as intoxication, distraction by a cell phone or equipment malfunctions. The Oklahoman reported that Creed was driving at 71 mph and had cruise control on at the time of the crash. Witnesses and physical evidence suggested that Creed never braked before he hit the stopped traffic. However, he told an officer at the scene that he had brought his big rig to a full stop, and that the cars he hit must have driven underneath the truck.
Barring any discovery by authorities that Creed was confused by a health problem, I can only assume he never braked because he was distracted by something. That’s why, as a Missouri tractor-trailer accident lawyer, I hope that this terrible tragedy can do some good by teaching other drivers about the dangers of driving while distracted. Using cell phones and other mobile devices has become one of the most recognized driver distractions — but anything from eating a sandwich to rubbernecking can take a driver’s eyes off the road. And, as noted in a recent study, trucks on the highway can travel the length of a football field when drivers take their eyes off the road for just five seconds. Given that a truck can literally crush a smaller vehicle at high speeds, that’s far too long.
Carey, Danis & Lowe represents victims of serious trucking accidents caused by someone else’s careless decisions. That includes careless decisions by trucking companies — such as encouraging drivers to drive without enough sleep — as well as bad driving by truck drivers themselves. A serious 18-wheeler accident can devastate its victims and their families, causing wrongful deaths and disabilities that will affect them for the rest of their lives. It can also be financially devastating, taking victims out of work, sometimes permanently, just before six-figure medical bills start pouring in. Our St. Louis big rig accident lawyers help these victims claim the money they need to pay their medical bills and make ends meet for as long as they need the help, as well as compensation for their losses, pain and anguish.
If you were seriously hurt or lost a loved one in a truck crash in Missouri or southern Illinois, the Lowe Law Firm can help. To set up a meeting where we can give you a free, confidential evaluation of your case, please call us toll-free at 1-877-678-3400 or contact us through our Web site.