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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.”

Three university band students died tragically when struck by a semi near Natchitoches

NATCHITOCHES, Louisiana – Three Southern University students who played in the Human Jukebox marching band died after being hit by a semi-truck while changing a flat tire on the side of I-49. The accident occurred just after 7:00 p.m. on November 6, 2022.

Police reports suggest that the three students were attempting to change the tire of a 1999 Jeep Laredo on the northbound shoulder of I-49. Then, a 1997 Freightliner semi-truck veered onto the shoulder and hit the Jeep's left side.

All three victims were pronounced dead at the scene. The truck driver was not injured.

The crash is under ongoing investigation. No additional details are available at this time.

The victims' families must be provided with a clear pathway for seeking justice.

The facts depict what appears to be straightforward negligence by the semi-truck driver. Indeed, drivers must avoid colliding with cars on and off the roadway. There can be dire consequences for semi-truck drivers who do not take this duty seriously. As we see here, three innocent college marching band students lost their lives because of the wrongful conduct of one driver. This kind of negligence cannot be tolerated, and the victims' families must be aware of their options in pursuing justice for their loved ones after such a horrific loss.

Truck drivers must always be aware of their surroundings, scanning the roadway for potential hazards and giving ample space for smaller cars on the highway. Truckers must be well-qualified and well-trained before getting behind the wheel of such a large vehicle. Commercial trucking companies hiring truck drivers must also do their part to ensure their drivers are knowledgeable about evasive driving maneuvers and the importance of avoiding accidents. Truck drivers are far more likely to cause serious damage to themselves and others on our nation's roads without these required skills.

To determine whether the Freightliner driver was adequately trained, the victims' families must consider consulting with an attorney specialized in handling trucking accidents. Experienced attorneys often go beyond the police investigation of the crash by initiating an independent investigation of the company and driver. In an independent investigation, attorneys may find more information about the driver's history, the trucking company's policies, and whether the truck driver failed to adhere to safety procedures or was unaware of safety protocol at the time of the accident. Such an independent investigation generally helps the victims' families identify all responsible parties and ensures all wrongdoing is accounted for. 

This is a tragic crash that will undoubtedly leave many mourning. We hope that all those impacted may be comforted during this time of difficulty and find the strength to endure the days ahead.

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