A fatal accident on May 29, 2015, in Augusta County, Virginia (VA), highlights the dangers of unsecured loads on commercial flatbed trucks. The wreck, near the interchange of U.S. 29 and VA 699/Gladys Road, involved a log falling off the back of a tractor-trailer and crashing through the windshield of a following car. The loose lumber killed the woman behind the wheel of the car immediately but left a 5-year-old child strapped into a booster seat in the back seat uninjured.
The deceased victim was a resident of Altavista, and she lost her life just outside the boundaries of that town south of Lynchburg. No one seems to have witnessed the accident, and it is unclear whether the driver of the log truck noticed that part of his load had broken free and slammed into another vehicle. Virginia State Police have asked any person who has information concerning the identity of the trucker or the company for which he was working to call (434) 352-7128.
Learning who was operating the log truck and where the tractor-trailer began its fatal journey may lead law enforcement officials to file charges for causing a hit-and-run collision, operating recklessly and driving with an unsecured load. That last potential charge could be levied against both the commercial truck driver and the personnel at the lumber company who loaded the flatbed.
Debris and cargo flying from the rear of trucks and trailers of all types represent deadly risks for people in nearby vehicles. State and federal laws requiring straps, tarps and other kinds of coverings often get ignored or honored in incomplete ways that offer no real security. Sometimes, a trailer or flatbed itself will be so poorly connected to its tractor cab that it separates and becomes an uncontrolled, rolling hazard.
My Virginia wrongful death attorney colleagues and I hope the people responsible for not securing the load of logs traveling through Augusta County are found quickly and held accountable for negligently causing a death. we also want any truck driver or trucking firm employee who learns about this preventable tragedy to take to heart the lesson that every load must be secured firmly every time.