MARIETTA, Oklahoma—An unnamed 24-year-old was killed in a crash involving a semi-truck driven by Denzel Stephens, 29, on I-35 northbound around 8:05 p.m. on September 21, 2022.
Initial reports suggest that Stephens had pulled the semi-truck over to the outside shoulder of the road and, as he attempted to re-enter the roadway, a car driven by the 24-year-old victim rear-ended the semi-truck.
Authorities report the car then veered off the roadway and caught on fire. The victim was ejected from the vehicle during the accident and pronounced dead at the scene. Stephens and his passenger, Kianna Traylor, 31, were uninjured.
Investigation into the accident is ongoing. No further information is currently available.
An independent investigator should examine this accident before apportioning liability for this accident.
It appears that the unidentified 24-year-old died due to the negligence of a truck driver and, quite possibly, the failure of a trucking company to educate its drivers. Truck drivers, like all motorists, must yield the right-of-way to moving traffic to ensure preventable accidents are avoided. Because the semi-truck driver failed to obey basic traffic rules, the victim's family will likely be able to recover any compensation to which they are entitled under the law.
Personal injury law is designed to help victims, and their families, receive the financial compensation they deserve from the wrongdoer after suffering a severe loss. An untimely death, like that inflicted upon the 24-year-old victim here, will have long-lasting effects on the victim's surviving family. It is unfair to expect families to suffer the economic and emotional consequences of a sudden loss while the parties responsible walk away without any consequence.
Even though authorities are still investigating this crash, we can be reasonably confident that the accident would not have occurred had the truck driver obeyed the rules when re-entering traffic. Even though this seems like a one-off event, the failure of truck drivers to see or yield to oncoming vehicles is a common occurrence and a leading cause of crashes involving large trucks. Truck drivers must be held accountable for their negligent actions while driving, and a claim brought by a victim's family members can deter other truck drivers from making similar careless mistakes.
Additionally, commercial trucking companies must strive to cultivate a safety culture among their drivers. To do so, trucking companies should educate truck drivers about the dangers of stopping on the shoulder of a busy roadway and the importance of looking for smaller passenger vehicles when entering a highway. Of course, an independent investigation will be needed to determine whether the truck driver in this accident had received educational instruction before the crash. If not, the victim's family could also bring a claim against the trucking company.
Since multiple parties may be responsible for the victim's death, the family may want to consult with a personal injury attorney experienced in these types of cases to investigate the cause of the accident. That way, all responsible actors may be held accountable for the family's loss. Until then, we offer our condolences and pray that this family may have strength during this difficult time.
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.