A fatal accident that occurred over one year ago has resulted in homicide charges being filed against a Missouri semi-truck driver. Curtis Hawkins, of Dexter, Missouri allegedly falsified entries in his log book regarding the amount of time spent behind the wheel, which is actually a common practice in the trucking industry.
Mr. Hawkins killed two people on Interstate 43 within Wisconsin when he took his eyes away from the road and failed to stop for traffic ahead. Reports state Mr. Hawkins came upon a construction-related detour which had caused a traffic bottleneck and, despite three warning signs of the detour ahead, Hawkins’ tractor-trailer, traveling at 70 mph, plowed into two vehicles ahead of him.
Hawkins’ 18-wheeler first struck a Cadillac driven by Jimmie Juhasz of Cedar Grove, killing the passenger, 80-year old Mary Parker of Wisconsin. The semi-truck then rear-ended a Ford Escape SUV driven by Donald Sherman, 78, pushing it over 150 feet. The Escape and Hawkins’ tractor-trailer both went off the side of the interstate following the collision. Donald Sherman was pronounced dead at the scene, while Mary Parker died of serious injuries five days later. Mr. Sherman’s wife, Roberta, and Mr. Juhasz were both seriously injured in the accident, while Hawkins suffered only minor injuries. In addition to the two counts of homicide by negligent operation of a vehicle, Hawkins also faces two felony counts of reckless driving resulting in great bodily injury, and faces up to 13 years in prison in this truck accident case.
Unfortunately, falsifying truck driving logs is all too common in the trucking industry as truck drivers constantly race against time in order to deliver loads on tight deadlines. Although this type of behavior is certainly against federal motor carrier regulations, unbelievably, some irresponsible trucking companies encourage their employees to continue driving when they should be off the road, all for the sake of increased profits.
Exhausted and fatigued truck drivers pose a threat to everyone on the road. For the victims of such serious injury accidents, as well as the families they leave behind, a criminal conviction may help these people know this crime did not go unpunished. It is unknown if Mr. Hawkins’ victims have held him civilly liable for the damages he caused.
Our St. Louis personal injury lawyers help victims claim compensation for past and future medical bills as well as lost income, permanent disability or wrongful death. A truck accident personal injury lawyer can help victims analyze the accident and offer advice on the proper legal steps which need to be followed.