As a Missouri semi truck accident lawyer, I was disappointed to read about a fatal accident allegedly cause by a truck driver who was drunk and driving on the wrong side of the road. Denver’s 9news.com, the local NBC affiliate, reported Dec. 28 on the crash that killed Martin Hernandez, 71, and injured two passengers in his car. Hernandez was driving east on interstate 70 when he encountered a Freightliner truck driven by Jason Ross, 33, of St. Louis. Ross was driving west in the eastbound lanes when he hit Hernandez’s car head-on. The crash also injured Maria Hernandez, 77, and a nine-year-old girl riding in the back of their car, who was not identified. All four were airlifted to hospitals, but Ross was quickly released into the custody of Colorado state troopers, who jailed him on multiple charges.
According to the article, the crash took place at about 8 p.m. on Dec. 26. Witnesses called the Colorado State Patrol to report a semi heading west in the eastbound lanes, without its lights on. Witnesses told the news station that the truck was swerving into other vehicles’ paths. A local police officer followed on the correct side of the highway and attempted to pull Ross over, but did not succeed before his truck hit the Hernandezes’ Buick Park Avenue head-on. Martin Hernandez died in the hospital, but Maria Hernandez and the girl remain hospitalized. Ross is jailed on a $100,000 bond for vehicular homicide, vehicular assault, DUI, reckless driving, careless driving causing injury, driving on the wrong side of a divided highway and driving without headlights. The article said his trucking company, USA Truck Inc., has been cited 13 times in the past two years for drivers using, possessing or being under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
The unflattering information about USA Truck goes on. The article also says this trucking company, with a fleet of about 2,300 trucks, had 100 accidents in the past two years involving an injury or death. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration cited the company at least three times in 2010 for serious violations like failure to maintain trucks or using unqualified drivers. And since 2008, the company had 751 unsafe driving violations, such as speeding. As a southern Illinois tractor-trailer accident attorney, I cannot overemphasize the importance of this information, because it’s evidence that the company’s safety systems aren’t in place. If it failed to take legally required steps that could have prevented this crash, like routine drug and alcohol testing, it would bear some of the responsibility for this crash. And that, in turn, would allow this family to recover financial damages from the trucking company, in addition to any criminal penalties faced by Ross himself.
After a devastating crash like this, most families aren’t thinking about money. But as time goes on, hospital bills begin arriving and paychecks stop for victims who are too injured to work. Over months, this can add up to six or even seven figures for the most seriously injured people. When those injuries were caused by the negligence of a truck driver — and the company that employed that driver — victims can and should hold them legally responsible for the results. Carey, Danis & Lowe focuses its practice specially on trucking accidents because we know they cause much more serious injuries than two-car crashes. In a lawsuit, our St. Louis big rig accident lawyers can help victims claim compensation for all of their injuries, including past and future medical bills, lost income, pain, suffering and lost quality of life from a permanent disability or death in the family.
If you or someone you love was seriously injured by a careless trucker, you don’t have to handle the insurance, medical and legal consequences alone. For a free, confidential consultation, call Carey, Danis & Lowe today at 1-877-678-3400 or send us a message through our website.