As a St. Louis semi trailer crash attorney, I noticed a recent news item in the Marshfield Mail about a tractor-trailer accident that happened Oct. 19, a mile west of Marshfield. The article does not definitively blame one driver or the other, but statements from the Missouri State Highway Patrol suggest that they see the crash as the trucker’s fault. Two men were injured when a Mack truck clipped their pickup truck on the highway. Thankfully, no one was killed, but the passenger suffered serious injuries and the driver suffered moderate injuries.
The driver was Johnny P. Heckman, 36, of Fordland. He and his passenger, William P. Hilles, 45, also of Fordland, were in a 1999 Ford F350 as they drove eastbound on Highway 38 after midnight on Oct. 19. A 2009 Sterling tractor-trailer was coming toward them on a curve. According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the semi truck’s driver, Bryan D. Wells, 44, of Lonoke, Ark., was driving slightly over the center line as Heckman’s pickup truck approached. Wells swerved to the right to avoid hitting the pickup truck, but his trailer did not swerve fast enough to get out of he way. Instead, the trailer crossed into the oncoming traffic lane, smashing the pickup truck. The pickup was totaled, according to the article. Heckman suffered moderate injuries and Hilles suffered serious injuries. Neither man was wearing a seat belt. Both went by ambulance to Cox South Hospital in Springfield.
Unfortunately, the size and weight of large trucks means that even a sideswipe can cause serious damage, as this article shows. A loaded semi weighs up to 22 times more than other vehicles on the road, allowing it to do much greater damage to other vehicles than a passenger car would — if their drivers aren’t careful and responsible. We don’t know exactly why the driver of the semi truck near Marshfield crossed the center line, but semi truck accidents frequently involve the same few causes — distraction, exhaustion, and aggression. One might think that drivers of enormous, extremely heavy vehicles on public roads would use extra patience and caution when driving, especially since federal law gives them special responsibilities intended to make sure they are safe drivers. Unfortunately, as I know well from my work as a Missouri big rig accident lawyer, some truck drivers get sloppy, or don’t care in the first place. A few trucking companies also cut corners by hiring drivers who are unsafe or even unlicensed.
If you or a loved one were hurt by a negligent semi truck driver, please contact the southern Illinois 18-wheeler accident attorneys at Carey, Danis & Lowe for a free consultation. If truck drivers who refuse to take their jobs seriously end up hurting or killing someone, victims can hold them responsible for that negligence. Families devastated by preventable accidents can sue the negligent drivers and employers for lost past and future wages, compensation for their pain and suffering, damage to relationships and more. It’s important to speak with an attorney right away after an accident, in order to make sure all relevant evidence from the crash is preserved, and to avoid letting the negligent driver’s insurance company convince you to sign away your rights to full compensation. To set up a free consultation, please contact us online or call toll-free at 1-877-678-3400.