Driving eastbound on Highway 70, tractor-trailer driver, Alejandro (Alex) encountered some light rain as he entered Warren County, Missouri. In the sleeper compartment of the tractor trailer, Alex’s co-driver rested from his turn at the wheel. Their employer CRST, a large national transportation company, followed the federal regulation allowing a pair of drivers to operate their vehicles for a maximum of 22 hours per day. Alternating operating the tractor trailer, Alex and Uiolo regularly transported goods across the country.
As the pair proceeded through Warren County with the accelerator pegged 100% and going full throttle at 64 mph, they are passed by two smaller vehicles: a jeep and a mustang. Shortly after executing the pass, the jeep skidded and slammed into the center barrier. Following the impact, the mustang travelling behind, collided with the jeep and veered to the right into the semi.
Alex’s truck was struck on the front left wheel by the mustang which sustained damages to the front quarter panel due to spinning lug nuts stemming from the tractor wheel.
Despite the collision between Alex’s truck and the mustang, the tractor trailer kept going and eventually struck the median. At 70,000 pounds, the tractor trailer shredded the median along with the wire barricade and flipped onto its side facing oncoming traffic on highway 70 west.
The first vehicle from highway 70 west to strike the overturned semi-truck was torn in half and killed the driver on impact. Sadly, the driver was a sweet grandmother who was the bedrock of a
wonderful family. At the same time, a GM pickup truck collided with Alex’s semi. Until this point, the driver of the pickup, Ammon regularly drove this way home from work at the General motors plant for 30 years. In an instant, his vehicle went from 39 miles per hour to zero miles per hour.
According to our expert and the Missouri Highway Patrol who reconstructed the incident, most occupants are killed during a velocity change of 30 miles per hour. However, this particular crash did not kill Amon, but did leave him severely injured.
Another driver named Tom was traveling behind Ammon in a tractor-trailer and swerved left to avoid crashing into the top of Alex’s cab. As a tractor trailer driver for the past 30 years, Tom knew that slamming into the fiberglass cab would kill any occupants. After crashing into the trailer section of Alex’s semi-truck, Tom’s vehicle collided with another tractor trailer that followed him too closely. This severe impact forced Tom and his tractor to remain inside Alex’s trailer.
For the next four and a half hours Tom was stuck in the trailer with a collapsed lung. The Highway Patrol was unaware that Tom was encaged in the wreck for several hours as they surveyed the scene. They were forced to execute some cows in the tractor trailer that rearended Tom due to the severity of their injuries. Fortunately, the Highway Patrol and fire department realized that Tom’s trailer was there and worked to free him.
Currently, Burger Law is tirelessly working to steward Ammon and Tom through their recovery process. We have taken depositions, retained experts, and dedicated long hours to analyzing the facts and proving their case.
Unfortunately, accidents and injuries sustained by Ammon and Tom happen everyday on roadways around the United States. It is important to be vigilant and exercise care at any time while operating a motorized vehicle.