A semi-truck can be a deadly weapon, especially when operated by a careless
or negligent driver. As Missouri truck accident lawyers, we know that
truck driver fatigue can be a serious threat to roadway safety, especially
for the occupants of smaller passenger vehicles. Research from the
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) indicates that truckers are twice as likely to crash when they've
been behind the wheel for more than eight consecutive hours. And when
these accidents happen, the aftermath can be devastating.
Recently, the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier
Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued an imminent hazard out-of-service
order to a Michigan trucking company and one of its drivers. The order
comes just weeks after the truck driver, 47 year-old Ibrahim Fetic, caused
a fiery three-vehicle crash that left six people dead.
According to WAVE-TV, the accident happened on March 2 in Hardin County, Kentucky. Authorities
say Fetic's rear-ended an SUV on Interstate 65, causing the smaller
vehicle to slam into the car in front of it and catch fire.
Six people in the SUV were killed, including the driver, 62 year-old James
Gollnow; his wife, 62 year-old Barbara Gollnow; their daughter, 18 year-old
Sarina Gollnow; a family friend, 92 year-old Marion Champnoise; and two
foster children, 10 year-old Gabriel Zumiga and 8 year-old Soledad Smith.
Two other passengers - also foster children of the Gollnows - were injured:
15 year-old Hope Hoth, who suffered from burns and a broken spine; and
12 year-old Aidian Ejnik, who suffered several cuts to the back of his
head. The family was returning home to Wisconsin after a Florida vacation.
An investigation of the crash revealed the following:
• Troopers from the Kentucky State Police initially reported that
the semi was following the SUV too closely. At the scene, Fetic said he
"saw the vehicle that was in front of him and he hit the brakes and
he didn't them in time," said Master Trooper Norman Chaffins.
• According to FMCSA officials, Fetic was driving well in excess of
federal hours-of-service regulations, which govern the amount of time
a truck driver can spend behind the wheel. Investigators examined eight
of Fetic's record-of-duty status logs and found that all eight had
• In addition, Fetic's employer, Highway Star, Inc., had apparently
"allowed or required its drivers operating CMVs in interstate commerce
to falsify their records-of-duty status and failed to preserve these records,
resulting in the carrier being unable to monitor its drivers' compliance
with regulations setting maximum hours of service and requiring off-duty
and rest hours."
• In the two years leading up to the fatal Kentucky crash, drivers
for Highway Star had
accumulated 17 traffic violations for offenses including speeding, following too closely, and failing to
use seat belts.
The personal injury lawyers at Aaron Sachs and Associates represent the
victims of Missouri semi-truck accidents. Our firm maintains offices in
Springfield, Joplin, Columbia, Cape Girardeau and Kansas City, and we
offer a free initial consultation to discuss your case. If you've
been injured in a crash caused by a distracted or fatigued truck driver,
you may be entitled to compensation for your losses and damages. Contact
us today to find out if we can help: call us toll-free at 1-888-777-AUTO,
or click here to submit our "Do I Have a Case?" form online.
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