A driver for a Kansas City-based grocery company plowed into a line of stopped cars in northeastern Oklahoma June 26, the Associated Press reported June 28. Authorities said they did not believe driver Donald Creed, 76, of Willard, Mo., tried to stop before his truck hit three stopped cars, starting a chain-reaction crash that killed 10 people. Oklahoma Highway Patrol Lieutenant George Brown said the scene was like a war zone, with some victims pinned in their vehicles for hours before they could be freed. All in all, ten people were killed:
- Ethan Hayes, 7, Frisco, TX
- Randall Hayes, 38, Frisco, TX
- Shelby Hayes, 35, Frisco, TX
- Antonio Hooks, 42, Oklahoma City, OK
- Dione Hooks, 41, Oklahoma City, OK
- Earlene Hooks, 63, Oklahoma City, OK
- Oral Hooks, 69, Oklahoma City, OK
- Cynthia Olson, 55, Crossroads, TX
- Ernestina Reyes, Phoenix, AZ
- Ricardo Reyes, 39, Phoenix, AZ
At least three other people, including Creed, are hospitalized with injuries from the accident. Twelve-year-old Andrea Reyes of Phoenix is listed in serious condition at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City.
An investigation is pending, but the cause of the accident was not immediately clear. Brown told the AP that investigators do not believe alcohol was a factor in the crash, although authorities did a routine toxicology text. Later investigation found that the brakes on the truck, owned by Associated Wholesale Grocers of Kansas City, appear to work fine, and Creed’s commercial driver’s license was clean in both Missouri and Oklahoma. The initial highway patrol report said Creed was driving too fast for the conditions, and authorities have said Creed may be charged with ten counts of negligent homicide after a criminal investigation is complete.
My heart goes out to the people affected by this terrible crash. As a St. Louis semi truck accident lawyer, I would have been interested in this crash no matter what the circumstances. But I’m sorry to say that it also closely resembles the horrific July 2008 tractor-trailer crash that took place on I-40 here in St. Louis. In that case, the investigation eventually said the cause was simple inattention — the truck driver was text-messaging right before he hit a line of stopped traffic, killing three and catastrophically injuring many more. As a result, the driver and his trucking company are now facing multiple Missouri tractor-trailer crash lawsuits alleging that their negligence (carelessness) caused the deaths and injuries.
If it turns out that the driver in the Oklahoma crash was also distracted, or too impaired to drive safely, he and his trucking company could face similar lawsuits. In any commercial truck accident, truckers and companies whose carelessness caused a serious accident are legally liable for all the injuries and deaths that result from that accident. Carey, Danis & Lowe helps victims of serious trucking accidents hold those wrongdoers liable through Missouri big rig accident lawsuits. Based in St. Louis and Belleville, Ill., we represent people throughout Missouri and southern Illinois.
If you or a loved one was seriously hurt in an accident with a large truck and you’d like to learn more, Carey, Danis & Lowe can help at a free, confidential consultation. To set one up, please contact us via email or call us toll-free at 1-877-678-3400 today.