A meat-packing plant’s shuttle van, which was carrying workers to the plant, overturned on a Philadelphia expressway early Monday morning, killing one passenger and injuring 15 others, according to an article posted on the Philadelphia Daily News’ Web site.
The driver of the 1980 Dodge Sportsman van, 51-year-old Jean-Baptiste Saint Louis, was driving the vehicle northbound on Route 309 when he lost control and the van went onto the shoulder of the freeway, flipping over on a grassy embankment, the article said. No other vehicles were involved in the accident, officials said.
The 15 other workers, a majority of them Haitian, were taken to local hospitals to treat their injuries, some of them life-threatening, the newspaper reported. Names of the deceased and injured have not yet been released. The crash is still under investigation, but officials say they don’t believe alcohol was a factor. Police are however performing a toxicology test on the driver as part of procedure, the article said. Traffic was snarled on the expressway for about five hours Monday morning.
All of the victims, who were passengers in that van, worked for Moyer Packing Co., a beef processing plant. They took the shuttle to the plant everyday from the city, according to a company spokesman. Investigators also found as they were investigating the incident that no one in the group was wearing a seat belt and that the van was not equipped with air bags.
Although very few details about the circumstances of the accident and condition of the victim have been provided to the newspaper, one can only imagine what a horrific accident this must have been. Not one of the passengers was wearing a seat belt and the van overturned. They were getting tossed like salad greens inside that van! Also, there were no air bags — which means there was nothing in that van to reduce the impact of the injuries. With this type of accident, when people get ejected from a vehicle or thrown around the vehicle, there is always the chance of blunt force trauma, which is what I suspect happened to most of these passengers. There are bound to be broken bones and severe internal injuries – very likely, chest and head injuries – in such situations.
However, I do hope those in the hospital recover and go back to their families that are most likely depending on them to put food on the table. That said, this incident is definitely something for the meat-packing company to think about. Are they making this ride from the city as safe as possible for their workers? Was the van maintained properly? Was the driver trained in safety procedures? Were passengers told to wear their seat belts? These are all questions that must be answered.
If you have been a victim of an auto accident, on-the-job injury or if you have questions about your legal options relating to a serious injury, call me, John Bisnar of Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys, for a free consultation. 1-800-259-6373