A big rig driver from Alpharetta GA was charged June 2 with gross negligent operation with death in Vermont, stemming from a December 2015 head on crash in bad weather.
The Vermont State Police reported this week that Lashawn Jones, 41, was operating his International tractor trailer on Dec. 29 when he slammed head on into a Cadillac Escalade driven by Richard Malarczyk, as he and his family traveled westbound on Route 4 in Killington VT. Two others in the SUV died and two were seriously injured.
The state police, as well as Rutland County VT State’s Attorney Rose Kennedy, determined that Jones was driving his rig in a grossly negligent fashion in poor weather. Witnesses and the police report stated that the weather was overcast with showers and the road was covered with slush and ice.
All commercial vehicle operators have a sacred obligation to drive safely. In the Virginia Commercial Driver’s Manual, many pages are dedicated to driving these large, heavy vehicles safely. For example, the VA manual states that slushy roads can be very dangerous. Slight melting of snow on a road makes the ice wet, which is much more dangerous than ice that is ‘dry.’
Also, when water and slush collects on the road, hydroplaning is more likely, which is especially deadly when massive big rigs are involved.
Unfortunately, we have represented clients whose loved ones died in similar circumstances as in this deadly truck crash in Vermont. Our Virginia client was driving before sunrise and the road was covered in black ice. He crashed on the side of the road and got out of the car. Then a truck came along and hit the same black ice and hit our client. He died instantly.
Our experienced Virginia truck crash attorneys were able to show in court that even though the deceased had crashed on the very same black ice, the truck driver had a higher duty of care than other drivers to drive safely. This resulted in a $410,000 settlement after a day-long mediation.
That case indicates that experienced truck crash counsel can produce exceptional results by showing that the truck driver’s level of responsibility is higher than that of regular motorists.