HILMAR, California – James Merrifield, 28, was killed when a tow truck hit his vehicle as he waited to turn left into his driveway around 5:40 p.m. on December 5, 2022.
According to initial reports, Merrifield stopped his Honda Civic in the northbound lane of Lander Avenue to make a left-hand turn into his driveway when he was rear-ended by a tow truck.
Authorities believe that the tow truck was traveling approximately 35 miles per hour at the time of the collision, but the impact pushed Merrifield’s Honda into the southbound lane. A semi-truck hauling tank of molasses then struck Merrifield’s vehicle. The tow truck also continued into the southbound lane and collided with the big rig, causing molasses to spill onto the road.
Merrifield was transported to Emanuel Medical Center, where he later succumbed to his injuries. The tow truck driver suffered minor injuries, and the semi-truck driver was uninjured.
The collision remains under investigation by local authorities. No additional details about the crash are currently available.
Mr. Merrifield’s family deserves answers for such negligent behavior
Sadly, our nation’s roads are not as safe as we might assume, and most auto accidents occur within blocks of the victim’s home. Yet, the mere frequency of crashes does not excuse blatant acts of negligence from fellow drivers. Indeed, every driver has a duty to avoid collisions on the road, and failing to stop for a turning vehicle is negligence. Therefore, Merrifield’s family must be given the answers and explanations they need to pursue justice for a life taken far too early.
Operators of semi-trucks and tow trucks must be especially vigilant when driving because a collision with a large vehicle has a much higher likelihood of causing significant damage or death. Additionally, companies that employ vehicle operators must ensure their drivers are qualified to get behind the wheel of such a large piece of machinery. Commercial trucking and towing companies must regularly provide their drivers with educational and safety training, explicitly instructing drivers on stopping distances, evasive driving maneuvers, and emergency procedures.
Here, the tow truck driver failed to stop for Merrifield’s Honda, causing the vehicle to crash head-on with a passing semi-truck. However, what remains unclear is whether any other factors contributed to the tow truck driver’s negligence or the inability of the semi-truck driver to avoid colliding with both vehicles. In situations where more than one party may be ultimately responsible for an innocent person’s death, the family must seek the advice of skilled legal professionals. Experienced attorneys can independently investigate the driver’s driving history, corporate training, actions leading up to the accident, and other valuable information to better understand what caused such a senseless crash.
The first priority is to ensure that all responsible parties are identified and held responsible for negligent actions that cost human lives. Companies and drivers that cannot follow basic safety rules should not be permitted to operate dangerous vehicles. The risk of injury and death is too great. The surviving family must suffer for the rest of their lives because one driver failed to pay attention. Such actions cannot be ignored.
The Ammons Law Firm maintains a nationwide personal injury practice focused on catastrophic injuries and wrongful death. Contact the Ammons Law Firm today for a free accident review.
Disclaimer: This post is not legal advice. Information contained in this blog was compiled from third-party sources or is the opinion of the author. Please inform us immediately if false or misleading information is contained in this post.