A tractor-trailer driver has been charged with reckless driving after rear-ending a disabled car on I-644 in Chesapeake, Virginia (VA), during morning rush hour on June 14, 2012. The fatal accident occurred near the Portsmouth Boulevard/U.S. 17 exit, and the woman who had been driving the car was killed in the collision.
Here's how the Daily Press described the accident, in which the Newport News resident lost her life:
According to police, the woman's 1995 Nissan Sentra was broken down in the right shoulder lane with flashers on. A 2006 International tractor-trailer struck the car from behind and caused it to run into the ditch and into the tree line.
The trucker experienced an unspecified medical emergency that caused him to lose control of his big rig just before the crash. Police indicated to WAVY-TV 10 that involuntary manslaughter could have been considered, but the at-fault driver's poor health led to the less-serious criminal charge.
We send our condolences to the deceased woman's friends and family members. As Virginia Beach-based wrongful death attorneys, we have helped many clients who lost love ones in crashes caused by trucks. In several of those cases, investigations revealed that the tractor-trailer operator had a poorly controlled health condition that contributed or led directly to the tragic accident.
Falling ill does not absolve a person from responsibility and legal liability for the injuries or deaths they cause while behind the wheel of a big rig. Because truckers must control heavy vehicles and cargoes that have the potential to cause unimaginable damage, federal regulations impose the reasonable requirement that drivers must never operate trucks while impaired. Laws enforced through department of transportation regulations mandate that any known or foreseeable medical condition must be guarded against. Proper medication must be taken. Failing to do constitutes negligence.
In one major trucking wrongful death case our personal injury law firm handled, the truck driver claimed that a medical condition caused a temporary blackout. While collecting evidence regarding the case, we subpoenaed the truck driver's medical records, which clearly showed he knew he was at risk for becoming unsafe whie driving if he did not keep his health problems under control.