Two dead in St. Louis trucking accident; authorities blame distracted driving

Two dead in St. Louis trucking accident; authorities blame distracted driving

A horrific St. Louis semi accident killed two motorists in a seven-car, chain-reaction collision on I-55, St. Louis Today reported.

The Missouri Highway Patrol reports the tractor-trailer accident was caused by distracted driving after the trucker took his eyes off the road. By the time he returned his attention to the road, he found a line of cars stopped in front of him. The trucker reportedly swerved into one car and drove over another, causing the pileup just after noon Wednesday on northbound I-55 near McNutt Street.

A 52-year-old Perrysville man was in a 2005 Ford Focus the semi ran over, dragging it nearly the length of a football field. He was pronounced dead at the scene minutes after the crash. A 28-year-old Festus woman, who was driving another of the cars involved in the accident, was flown by helicopter to a St. Louis hospital, where she later died as a result of her injuries.

The 32-year-old Texas trucker was driving in the right lane of I-55 when police claim he took his eyes off the road. The patrol’s report lists “inattention” as a contributing factor. A trooper said the trucker looked off to his right for some reason and, by the time he returned his attention to the road, it was too late to stop the collision from occurring.

A witness at the scene said the trucker didn’t even have time to hit his brakes, and instead plowed into the row of cars at full speed. Construction crews were working on an I-55 widening project in the area and additional road construction is occurring to the north. Troopers said traffic may have been slowed by the road construction.

After striking a Chevy Impala and dragging the Ford Focus, the semi veered away and caused a crash involving five other vehicles, including a Pontiac Vibe driven by the female victim. Rescue workers had to cut the door and roof off the Vibe to free the woman trapped inside.

The Missouri trucking accident is similar to one that occurred in July 2008 on I-64, when an Alabama trucker killed three motorists stopped for slowed traffic. The patrol reported that the trucker had been reaching for his cell phone at the time of the crash. The 51-year-old truck driver pleaded guilty this spring to three counts of involuntary manslaughter. He was released from jail after being given credit for more than a year spent behind bars while the case was resolved.

Truckers are required to obey strict state and federal regulations meant to protect the safety of other motorists. Yet more than 380,000 trucking accidents occurred in 2008, killing 4,229 motorists and injuring more than 90,000, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In Missouri, a total of 117 people were killed in trucking accidents that year.

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Ryan R. Cox & Associates, LLC

Ryan R. Cox & Associates, LLC is a litigation law firm that represents individuals and families in serious personal injury and wrongful death claims throughout Missouri. We help people who have been injured in all types of accidents—including car or truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, slip and fall accidents, and much more. Whether your injury is something that can cause long-term issues like a brain injury or spinal cord injury, or it is something you’ll likely make a full recovery from, we are here to help.

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