One person was killed in a Minneapolis traffic accident when a tire flew off a dump truck into oncoming traffic, according to an Associated Press news report. Not much information was available about the victim, but the report states that the truck was driving south on the Interstate 35, but that the tire went into the northbound lane striking a vehicle.
This type of auto accident is not at all uncommon, especially in Los Angeles and Orange counties where big rig accidents and mishaps involving debris on the freeway are quite common, unfortunately. Our firm handled a case that was identical to the Minneapolis accident. It involved a moving van that lost the tire and struck a vehicle. The crash resulted in the driver suffering severe brain injuries and the passenger suffering multiple broken bones.
Freeway debris and trucks spilling all kinds of debris is certainly a reality in California. According to a New York Times article, about 140,000 cubic yards of debris are dumped on our freeways and in California alone 155 people lost their lives in the last two years after accidents involving objects on highways.
One particularly tragic story involved our client, Alvin Austin, whose wife died on the 91 freeway in Long Beach after she was hit by an aluminum sign that flew off a truck and pierced right through her windshield. The sign hit her on the face, crushed her jaw and left cheek bone causing a traumatic and what turned out to be a fatal injury.
Increasingly law enforcement agencies are starting to view this as “criminal negligence” and prosecuting companies that are negligent when it comes to securing their loads. In Alvin’s case, his wife Beverly died because a truck driver did not take the time to make sure that the aluminum signs were stacked properly and were secured in the truck. We held the trucking company responsible for their negligence and got the family the compensation they rightfully deserved.
These types of incidents are a warning call to all of us to exercise more care and caution when we transport things – even if it is as simple as lugging mattresses or furniture on the back of our pickup trucks. It’s really worth taking that extra time to make sure these loads are properly secured. Not doing so might land us in legal hot water and more importantly, could cause someone their life.