Six people were killed and five others were injured in two accidents within minutes on Interstate 65 just south of Louisville, Kentucky on March 2. The first crash happened on the northbound side of the Interstate. Eight family members from Marion, Wisconsin were in an SUV when it was rear-ended by a tractor-trailer and burst into flames. Only two people in the SUV survived.
Police are also blaming a four-vehicle collision in the southbound lanes on drivers being distracted by the first fiery crash. Minutes after the first, another crash took place in the opposite direction, injuring three people, one critically. Authorities say the second crash also involved a tractor-trailer.
It turns out that the trucking company involved in the initial crash—that killed six people— had accumulated 17 traffic violations over two years before the accident. Prior to the fatal collision, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration had warned states to closely inspect the company’s vehicles. Such a warning is meant to notify inspectors in each state when a trucking company’s vehicles deserve closer inspections, but the notification does not require them to do so. Inspectors at weigh stations, state troopers and other authorities have access to the notices.
The trucking company, Highway Star Inc., is based in Michigan. The 17 traffic violations were for speeding, improper lane change, following too closely to another vehicle and failure to wear a seatbelt. Highway Star owns 35 vehicles.
Out of 124 driver inspections over that period, seven resulted in drivers being taken out of service — a rate of 5.6 percent, slightly above the national average. Driver inspections involve separate criteria than vehicle inspections and can be done more frequently.
At Heygood, Orr & Pearson, our Board Certified attorneys* have tried dozens of cases involving accidents with 18-wheelers and other large commercial vehicles. Our attorneys have helped achieve a $36 million verdict for the family of a teenager injured in a bus crash in East Texas. They have negotiated a $15 million settlement of a case involving an 18-wheeler accident that killed several members of the same family. And they achieved verdicts or settlements of $7.25 million, $5.2 million, $5 million, and $1.8 million in other 18-wheeler cases, just to name a few.
If you have been injured, or a loved one has been killed or injured, in a trucking accident, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit and receive compensation. For a free legal consultation about your case, contact the lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson by calling toll-free at 1-877-446-9001, or by filling out the free case evaluation form on this page.
* Michael Heygood, James Craig Orr, Jr. and Eric Pearson are all Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law — Texas Board of Legal Specialization.