Two people died and 16 were injured after a tractor trailer traveling at a high rate of speed slammed into the back of a 15-passenger van and plowed into several other vehicles on eastbound Highway 40 in Town and Country, Missouri. Killed in the truck crash were Lydia Miller, 55 of Canton and Charles K. Cason, 55, of Caseyville. Miller was a passenger in the 15-passenger van traveling with other members of her Amish community to a funeral. Cason was traveling in a passenger car.
Sixteen people, ranging from 5 to 88, were injured and a total of 11 vehicles were involved in the pile-up triggered by the tractor trailer, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
Officials say the truck driver barreled through the stop and go traffic and eyewitnesses say he may have been traveling at 75 mph at the time of the accident. The local law enforcement agency and prosecutor are considering filing charges against the truck driver, Jeffrey R. Knight, 49, who reportedly works for Holmes Transportation, according to an earlier article.
My deepest condolences to the families of the deceased and wish the injured victims a speedy recovery.
Something happened here that is not disclosed in the news reports. For a big rig to be plowing into 10 passenger vehicles in stop and go traffic at a high rate of speed, there is something that happened other than simply a negligent or inattentive driver. If I was representing any of the victims or their family, I would be looking for a medical condition of the big rig driver, drug or alcohol usage or a mechanical failure of the tractor, maybe a problem with its brakes or throttle.
It is unfortunate that the Amish community is still using these death trap 15-passenger vans. Many church groups, child care centers and even large universities still use these vehicles that have been classified as dangerous and defective, according to a report from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.
Everyone involved in this accident, the family of the deceased victims and the big rig driver should all be consulting experienced truck accident attorneys. The truck driver may be the culprit or he may be a victim as well. Only a professional analysis is going to reveal what really went wrong here. The people in the fifteen passenger van might be well served consulting with a law firm experienced in 15-passenger van rollover cases.