Drivers in Missouri and around the country should reduce speed and remain alert when driving in bad weather and on slippery road surfaces, and this is especially true when they are behind the wheels of semi-tractor trailers. It is not uncommon to encounter disabled vehicles and slow-moving traffic when highways are icy and shrouded in snow, and drivers who are either not paying attention or driving too fast often strike them.
This is what happened U.S. Highway 61 near Canton on the morning of Jan. 26. According to a report from the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the driver of a semi-tractor trailer failed to notice that a group of tractor-trailers ahead of him were not moving and reacted too late to prevent an accident. When the 71-year-old Florida man did apply his brakes, his 2020 Freightliner jack-knifed and struck one of the stationary trucks. Four vehicles sustained significant damage in the ensuing chain-reaction crash.
Emergency operators dispatched police and paramedics to the scene at approximately 8:30 a.m. The driver who caused the accident suffered serious injuries and was transported to a hospital in Quincy. He was then taken to a Level I trauma center in St. Louis. The accident led to the closure of the northbound lanes of U.S. Highway 61 for about 10 hours. Responding agencies included the canton Police Department, the Lewis County Sheriff’s office, the Canton Fire Department, Marion County Ambulance and the Missouri State Highway Patrol.
Evidence of negligence
Police and weather reports may yield evidence that could be used to establish reckless behavior in lawsuits filed after truck accidents like this one. When the facts suggest that distraction or fatigue could be factors, experienced personal injury attorneys may also check hours of service logs or use subpoenas to obtain cellphone records.