Trucker Criminally Charged in Massive St. Louis Semi Truck Accident That Claimed Three Lives

By April 17, 2009Trucking Accidents

Prosecutors have criminally charged the driver of a tractor-trailer with the deaths of three people in last summer’s tragic St. Louis truck crash on Interstate 40. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported April 15 that Jeffrey Knight of Alabama is being held in Clayton County Jail on three counts of manslaughter for the deaths of Lydia Miller, Alvin Mast and Charles “Keith” Cason. All three died on July 15, 2008 when Knight’s truck drove into and over ten vehicles that were stopped for other traffic. Fifteen other people were injured, and as I have written here before, at least one suffered a brain injury so serious that he now needs full-time care.
Importantly, Knight was reportedly using his cell phone at the time of the accident. According to the newspaper, Knight told a bystander that just before the accident, he had reached over the dash and flipped open the phone, then looked back at traffic. Shortly after, his 19,000-pound semi plowed into the stopped traffic. The cell phone use may have driven the choice to charge him with involuntary manslaughter, which requires “criminal negligence” — carelessness so extreme that it rises to criminal behavior. He faces up to 12 years in prison if convicted.
An earlier article in the Post-Dispatch said that Knight and his trucking company faced at least five lawsuits from victims of the crash. That number may go up now that he is also charged criminally in the accident. Victims of serious trucking accidents can and often do file lawsuits, regardless of whether there are also criminal charges in the case. Truck accidents are frequently catastrophic, causing deaths and permanent, severe disabilities such as brain damage and paralysis. These are personally devastating — but as time goes on, victims and their families begin to realize that they’re also very expensive to treat, particularly if the family has lost an income because of the accident. Filing a Missouri trucking accident claim allows them to sue for the money they need to pay those bills and make ends meet.
Based in St. Louis and Belleville, Illinois, the Lowe Law Firm represents people who were seriously injured in a serious tractor-trailer accident in Missouri or southern Illinois. If you or someone you care about is in this situation, we would like to help. At a free, confidential consultation, our St. Louis semi truck accident attorneys can tell you more about your rights and your legal options. To set one up, please contact us through our Web site or call us toll-free today at 1-877-678-3400.