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“I have been prosecuting serious injury and wrongful death cases against trucking companies, auto makers and tire manufacturers for more than 30 years. Our firm maintains this blog to share information and insight on transportation safety issues that continue to arise on our nation’s highways and roads.”

James Covrett killed while changing tire on I-71

RICHLAND COUNTY, Ohio — James Covrett, a 65-year-old Delaware, Ohio man, tragically died Nov. 8 while changing a tire on the side of Interstate 71 in Perry Township.

Covrett was changing a tire on a disabled horse trailer at about 2:25 p.m. near the 159 mile marker when a semi trailer veered off the right side of the road and struck both him and the horse trailer, according to a local news report.

The Richland County Coroner pronounced Covrett dead at the scene of the accident.

A passenger traveling with him, 29-year-old Lisa Coder, of Delaware, Ohio, and the driver of the semi trailer, 67-year-old Paulo Dasilva, of Newark, N.J., were not injured. Three horses in the horse trailer also did not suffer injuries.

Authorities have not released any additional information about factors that may have contributed to the accident, though an investigation is underway.

COMMENTARY ON THE JAMES COVRETT ACCIDENT IN DELAWARE, OHIO

I am troubled to learn of Mr. Covrett’s unfortunate fatality. Unexpected life-ending occurrences, from my experience, are the hardest for those left behind to work through. I extend my deepest sympathies to Mr. Covrett’s loved ones.

It appears from the news report that he was outside of his vehicle, changing a flat tire on the horse trailer when he and the trailer were both struck by the tractor trailer rig. Fortunately, the other two individuals and three horses involved in the accident were unharmed.

I have worked on numerous cases over the last 30 years in my profession as a personal injury attorney, and represented many individuals and families in very similar accidents across the nation. Authorities have not released additional information about what may have contributed to this tragic mishap, but nearly anytime a vehicle strikes a disabled vehicle, the driver of the vehicle was negligent in someway.

Authorities have not released sufficient details to determine what happened in this accident. A thorough investigation will be needed to determine whether semi-driver error, distracted driving, or even fatigued driving played a role in this particular misfortune. 

Even though Mr. Covrett was hit while changing a tire on a horse trailer, the accident falls under the category of pedestrian accidents because he was on foot and fully exposed to the impact. Pedestrian fatalities shot up during 2020, according to a recent study. There was a staggering 21% increase in people hit and killed last year, even though Covid-19 limitations reduced the overall number of miles driven. That is the largest increase in pedestrian fatalities since 1975, the year the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration started keeping records.

To put the frequency of these tragic incidents into perspective, consider this: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that a pedestrian was killed about every 88 minutes in a traffic accident during 2017.

With the recent skyrocket in pedestrian fatalities, I’d like to point out that there are several safety measures you can take when a vehicle has a flat tire or breaks down on the highway.

If the driver, pull your vehicle off the shoulder as far as possible and turn on your hazard lights. Immediately call for help. Highway patrol officers can assist you, if for nothing more than to park behind you with lights flashing to warn other drivers. If you have flares or other emergency notification devices, and are in a safe, weather-permitting situation, place them 20-30 yards behind your vehicle. If it is not safe to get out of the vehicle, remain in the vehicle with your seatbelt fastened until help arrives. If it is safe to get out of the vehicle, move to the other side of any existing barrier, but stay with the vehicle until help arrives.

Next, from the perspective of a vehicle approaching the impaired vehicle, always drive defensively and look down the road for potential hazards. Safely move away from the vehicle as quickly and far as is possible, giving yourself ample time and room to avoid any conceivable danger. Slow down as you pass the parked vehicle. An investigation will determine whether the driver of the semi took proper cautions to protect innocent victims.

Disclaimer: All of the information contained within this post was compiled from public sources or constitutes the opinion of the author. Please inform us immediately if you identify any false or misleading information.




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