A semi-truck driver could face criminal charges for an accident Sunday in McDowell County near Linville, North Carolina (NC) that killed a passenger, shut down the highway and spilled battery acid, the N.C. Highway Patrol said Monday.
It seems that a deadly combination of faulty brakes and excessive speed may have been the cause of the accident. The exact cause of the wreck is still under investigation, but it appears from witness statements that the truck might have had faulty brakes.
"Witnesses said they could smell burnt truck brakes," police said. The truck was traveling southbound on the highway when it lost control, hitting a rock and hurtling back across the lanes before the trailer started flipping and broke away from the cab.
The driver stated that he lost the ability to use his brakes, according to the NC Highway Patrol. Robinson said the brakes could have gotten too hot as the truck came down the mountain. "It's a pretty steep grade," he said. "It's like 6 percent. If you do not travel it often, you could get going too fast."
An eye witness said, "I think this truck swung into the oncoming lane's ditch which caused it to start rolling. I don't believe the truck driver could have even seen the runaway hill and he just happened to roll into it. I have a feeling that his truck was already out of control. It was pure luck that no other cars were involved."
Tragically, passenger Ricky Dave McDuffie, 51, of Bishopville, South Carolina (SC), was killed in the accident, despite the fact that both the driver and the passenger were wearing seat belts. The driver was airlifted to Mission Hospital and is listed in serious condition.
I'm sure the family is struggling with the death of their loved one right now. They also probably have lots of unanswered questions. The problem for families of fatal truck accidents is that the tractor, the trailer, and the truck operator, may all have separate available insurance policies, and often we must also analyze our own client's other insurance sources as well. The trucking industry doesn't make it easy.
Since there appeared to be a problem with faulty brakes on the semi, the family should know that truck operators are subject to a number of strict state and federal regulations. Trucks must be inspected frequently since truck brakes wear out quickly and other mechanical malfunctions are common. Truckers must keep detailed logs and cannot drive for long stretches of time. If you have a knowledgably attorney, you can use this information and evidence to your advantage.