The Florida Highway Patrol says that the sequence of events that led to a fiery crash on the afternoon of Jan. 3 began when a semi-tractor trailer driver made an unsafe maneuver. A records check reveals that the 59-year-old Palm Beach County man was ticketed several times between 2000 and 2014 by police in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia, and Indiana, as well as Florida, for violations including speeding, driving without proof of insurance, operating an unsafe vehicle and operating an overloaded vehicle.
The truck accident took place on Interstate 75 near Gainesville at approximately 3:40 p.m. According to a FHP report, the chain-reaction crash was caused by a northbound semi-tractor trailer veering into the path of a Honda sedan. Both vehicles then traveled through the central median into the path of southbound traffic. The tractor-trailer then struck the side of a van taking a group of children to Disney World.
Five of the children in the van lost their lives after being ejected from the vehicle. They were between 9 and 14 years of age according to reports. The driver of the semi that caused the accident was also killed when his vehicle struck another tractor-trailer and caught fire. The driver of the second semi was the seventh fatality.
Experienced personal injury attorneys may choose to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the trucking company involved when presented with facts like these. Commercial vehicle operators have a duty to take all reasonable steps to protect other road users from harm, and allowing drivers with a history of reckless driving to get behind the wheel of a vehicle weighing as much as 40 tons could be viewed by a jury as a breach of this duty of care.
Source: Overdrive Online, “Trucker likely started fatal chain-reaction crash, highway patrol reports”, Matt Cole, Jan. 8, 2019
Source: WTXL, “Majority of victims from fiery crash on I-75 released from hospital”, Associated Press report, Jan. 8, 2019