WORCESTER COUNTY, Mass.—James S. Lucas, a 35-year-old man from Tyngsborough, Mass., sadly lost his life Feb. 5 in a crash involving a big rig and a pickup truck on the Massachusetts Turnpike.
According to local authorities, Lucas was eastbound on I-90 in Charlton in a 1989 GMC Sierra pickup when his vehicle veered outside marked travel lanes at about 9:10 a.m. and struck a 2017 Kenworth tractor cab parked in the breakdown lane.
Lucas was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident. The tractor-trailer driver, a 54-year-old man from Nevada, reportedly did not suffer injuries.
An investigation into the crash is ongoing, and no additional information has been released.
Commentary on the Fatal Semi-Truck Accident in Worcester County
I want to offer my condolences to Mr. Lucas’s family during this difficult time. Losing a loved one to a tragic accident leaves a family confused and searching for answers. While the details provided are too sparse to draw any firm conclusions, several concerns come to my mind based on similar accidents I have handled in the past.
Many folks think a rear-ending driver is always at fault for the harm sustained in an accident. This is not true. We know in this accident that a commercial truck was obscuring a recovery zone. From my experience, commercial drivers use roadsides as parking spots for mechanical reasons or to rest from their labors.
If this driver was parked in a recovery zone for mechanical reasons, we must ask what caused the mechanical issue. Truck drivers and their employers are legally obligated to conduct routine maintenance and repair to ensure roadsides are free from preventable breakdowns. I handled a case recently where my client’s husband smashed into the back of a disabled semi-truck and was killed on impact. After investigating the accident, it was revealed the truck experienced a flat tire and was waiting for repair. As we dug deeper, it turned out this truck’s tire failed because the driver failed to keep his tires properly inflated. Had this driver performed the simple task of airing his tires before traveling, the truck would not have been on the side of the road, and my client’s husband would still be here today.
Likewise, if the driver was parked to rest, this is against the law. Commercial drivers must use designated rest areas to break and recuperate from their daily drives. Failure to do this is illegal and highly dangerous.
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