Alcohol is often the root cause of serious car and truck collisions. In a recent incident, an intoxicated big rig driver appears to have lost control of his flatbed semi-tractor trailer and collided with a car travelling in the opposite direction. While the investigation of the collision is not complete, the chain of events underlying the truck crash seems clear.
The big rig flatbed was heading north on I-5 at about 8:25 p.m. when it drifted across the median into the southbound lanes. The flatbed collided with a southbound Honda sedan, which burst into flames. The driver of the Honda was thrown from the vehicle even though he appears to have been wearing a seatbelt. The big rig crossed the remaining southbound lanes and finally came to rest in an orchard several hundred feet from the freeway. The driver of the Honda was pronounced dead at the scene, while the driver of the big rig suffered only minor injuries. I-5 was closed for about half an hour while police and firefighters extinguished the flames pouring from the Honda.
Police arrested the big rig driver at the scene and charged him with vehicular manslaughter, driving while intoxicated, and driving a commercial vehicle while intoxicated. The drunk truck driver was booked into the San Joaquin County Jail and is being held pending posting a $1.6 million bail bond.
The family of the Honda driver may have a wrongful death action against the driver, the owner of the flatbed (if it is not owned by the driver), and any party who may have leased or rented the truck and hired the driver. Sorting out liability in a case of this nature can be a complex task. Anyone who has been injured or lost a loved one in a similar accident may wish to consult an attorney who specializes in motor vehicle cases. Such a consultation can provide a helpful analysis of the facts, an identification of potential defendants and an estimate of the likelihood of recovering damages for medical expenses, lost income and pain and suffering.
Source: Tracy Press, “Trucker arrested for DUI in fatal I-5 accident,” April 14, 2016