Healy Scanlon Law Firm

Fatal truck accident results in prison time for Chicago driver

We have previously written about the devastating truck accidents caused by drivers who are sleep deprived, distracted or impaired by drugs/alcohol. While drivers of any type of motor vehicle are dangerous under the aforementioned conditions, truck drivers are particularly dangerous because of the sheer size and weight of their vehicles.

Last month, a truck driver from Chicago was sentenced to four years in prison for causing a 2009 truck accident that killed a 66-year-old woman. The 37-year-old truck driver pleaded guilty to charges of aggravated driving under the influence of drugs. He reportedly had marijuana in his system at the time of the crash.

According to the Chicago Tribune, the crash occurred on an Interstate 90 exit ramp in August 2009. There was a traffic jam at the exit ramp, and the victim’s car was stopped when it was rear-ended by the semi. The woman became quadriplegic and suffered other severe injuries as well. She lived for a little over a year after the crash, but ultimately died as a result of her injuries.

While the truck driver did apologize for the crash in court, he also denied being impaired at the time. He said: “It was an accident, it wasn’t malicious. I wouldn’t wish that pain on anybody.”

To be sure, nearly all motor vehicle crashes are “accidents” in the sense that the at-fault driver did not intend to cause a collision. However, this crash almost certainly could/should have been avoided. As such, calling it an accident (and implying that it was unavoidable) seems disingenuous.

In cases like this one, criminal charges are often appropriate and necessary. But with truck accidents, a civil lawsuit may also be appropriate. Victims and/or their families sometimes sue both the truck driver and the truck driver’s company for personal injury or wrongful death.

Source: Chicago Tribune, "Truck driver gets 4 years in fatal 2009 crash," George Houde, Dec. 18, 2013

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