Unrepaired and improperly serviced equipment on a dump truck created a situation that led to a fatal rear-end collision on a Northern Virginia interstate. The deadly wreck involving a tractor-trailer occurred on I-95 near the town of Triangle, VA, on the night of November 7, 2014.
Virginia State Police told reporters that they received a call from the dump truck operator minutes before the crash. The construction vehicle had stalled in the center lane of the three-lane highway and would not restart. The semi approached at the posted speed limit of 70 mph, and its driver could not stop or safely move over in time to avoid the collision. The trucker died at the scene of the accident, and the dump truck operator sustained serious injuries.
After investigating the vehicles, troopers charged the man who had been behind the wheel of the dump truck with operating a vehicle that had a defective power train and nonworking lights. Further investigation will be needed to determine whether those problems resulted from manufacturers' negligence or inattention from the owner of the truck. As a longtime Virginia wrongful death attorney who has handled many deadly truck crashes, I know that figuring that out will be essential for ensuring that the family members of the deceased victim receive adequate compensation from the liable parties.
Equipment failures such as blown tires, locked-up engines and unresponsive transmissions cause hundreds of big rig accidents each year in Virginia. Commercial trucks are required to undergo frequent inspections from state officials, but companies may flout those rules and put everyone on the road at risk for injuries and loss of life. If that happened in this instance, the dump truck owner should face criminal charges in addition to being made to settle claims from the victim's survivors.