The Columbia County, Wisconsin district attorney filed a criminal complaint this week that charged the 40 year old trucker with one count of homicide by negligent operation of a vehicle. He can receive up to 10 years in prison if he is convicted.
State prosecutors stated the trucker was hauling potatoes eastbound on Highway E in Columbia County on Aug. 11 when he ran a stop sign. He slammed into a Nissan van going north on Highway 73. The van was driven by a 40 year old woman who was pulling a camper with seven children in it. The woman was not required to stop at that intersection.
EMTs pulled the truck driver and van driver from their vehicles, and a helicopter took the woman van driver and one of the children to a local hospital. The woman died from her injuries later that day.
The deadly truck crash was captured on the dash cam in the truck. It showed the trucker was going 55 MPH as his rig passed a STOP AHEAD sign, and 54 MPH when he passed the point when he was supposed to stop.
The sheriff’s office stated that it was clear that the truck driver was at fault, and while there was not any intent, there was negligence. They also said the truck driver may have been distracted at the time of the accident.
Our tractor trailer accident attorneys are always saddened to hear when yet another life is needlessly taken by a negligent tractor trailer driver. When truckers get behind the wheel, it is vitally important that they pay 100% attention to the road. It is shocking to us that a truck driver would blow through a stop sign at 55 MPH and not even hit his brakes.
The above news story does not state specifically what caused the accident, but the sheriff’s office hinted that distracted driving may have been a factor. Distracted driving can be for many reasons, but these days it is very common for drivers to be distracted by cell phones.
Truck drivers should know that it is illegal to text and drive when driving a commercial vehicle. Also, it is simply not smart. Texting drivers take their eyes off the road for almost 5 seconds; at 55 MPH, this means a trucker can drive the length of a football field without looking at the road.
The truck driver in this case faces years in prison, and he may also be sued for wrongful death or personal injury, which could result in millions of dollars in damages.