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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.”

Gary Sawyer killed in a truck accident on James River Freeway

SPRINGFIELD, Missouri – 74-year-old Gary Sawyer was killed in an accident with a truck on James River Freeway.

According to reports, the accident happened after the driver of a 2011 Peterbilt tractor-trailer attempted to make a U-turn and became disabled, blocking the lanes of traffic. Sawyer, who was traveling westbound, could not stop to avoid the trailer and crashed into the disabled unit.

Authorities reported Sawyer dead at the scene of the crash. Sawyer was buckled at the time of the crash.

No further information was immediately available.

Mr. Sawyer’s family deserves answers and justice in the wake of this preventable crash

Some folks may look at this crash and assume Mr. Sawyer failed to keep a proper lookout and crashed into a disabled truck blocking traffic. However, it is important to recognize that there should never have been a truck blocking the lanes of traffic in the first place, and the trucker and his company cannot escape liability simply because the truck was disabled.

This dangerous situation was created because the trucker chose to perform a U-turn. Truckers cannot create dangerous situations for other drivers. If truckers cannot complete a turn safely, they must wait to make the turn. U-turns are notoriously dangerous and should only be performed when absolutely necessary. U-turns take a very long time to complete and require upwards of 75 feet to complete without error. Further, the turn was being performed in the middle of the night, a time of reduced visibility for all motorists. The actions of the trucker leading up to this horrific crash must be investigated to determine why the trucker engaged in such dangerous behavior and if his company endorsed such actions. Truckers should know better than to complete such a dangerous act.

Additionally, truckers cannot point to a mechanical issue to escape liability when the mechanical issue is the result of their own negligent conduct. While we do not have information as to why the truck was disabled and blocking both lanes of traffic, experience suggests that the truck was stuck because the trucker did not have enough room to make the turn. However, If the truck was disabled for reasons outside of the turn, it will be important to determine what the mechanical issue was and who was responsible for preventing it.

This was an entirely preventable crash that left a man dead and an innocent family mourning. The actions of the truck driver and his company must be investigated to ensure the surviving family receives the justice they deserve and that greater safety and care are exercised by all motorists going forward.

I extend my condolences to the Sawyer family and pray for their strength during this difficult time of grief.


The Ammons Law Firm represents clients nationwide in catastrophic injury and wrongful death litigation, with extensive experience in complex auto/tire defect and commercial vehicle cases.

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.

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