The family of a five-year-old boy killed in a Maine trucking accident is reportedly weighing a wrongful death lawsuit against the driver of the box truck that struck the rear of the vehicle in which he was a passenger. The crash also killed the boy’s 57-year-old volunteer driver, who had been transporting the boy from an educational program on a recent Friday afternoon.
According to the Portland Press-Herald, the pair died instantly after a box truck driven by a commercial driver rear-ended them on the Maine Turnpike at mile marker 22. The box truck reportedly slammed into the back of the volunteer driver’s car and then rode up onto its roof. The forceful impact of the collision also reportedly pushed the decedent’s car into the tractor-trailer that was in front of it.
The crash happened at around 2 p.m., after the volunteer driver and others on the turnpike had slowed down as emergency and clean up crews worked to clear the roadway following an earlier trucking accident at mile marker 24. In that crash, a motorist was thrown from a vehicle that collided with a median guardrail, causing the driver to suffer critical injuries.
The driver who was transporting the five-year-old had been volunteering his time to drive people to their appointments for more than a decade. He worked to help those most in need, including children, the elderly, and the disabled, nearly every day of the week since 2006. He worked for a non-profit that provides transportation services to low-income residents. He and other volunteers use their own vehicles. The boy being transported attended a school that provides programs for both adults and children with disabilities.
Meanwhile, the driver of the box truck was identified as a 56-year-old from Lowell who was reportedly delivering mail to Portland from New Hampshire. The driver of the tractor-trailer was not seriously hurt.
Although authorities have not at this point filed any criminal charges, local news outlets reported that the box truck driver had a history of violating commercial carrier safety rules. Notably, the box truck driver suffered from diabetes, which would have meant he would not be allowed under federal law to drive a commercial vehicle across state lines. However, in order to sidestep that rule, officials with the Maine Department of Transportation say, the truck driver went to another physician and was dishonest about his medical history. In that way, he was able to obtain medical approval to drive a commercial vehicle across state lines.
It’s not clear, however, if the driver’s diabetes played any role in the trucking accident. There is a defense some drivers can utilize in other states when a medical emergency causes a driver to crash, but it typically assumes the driver had no prior knowledge of his or her condition or its potential to pose a risk to others on the road. Maine does have a sudden emergency doctrine, which requires that one act as an ordinarily prudent person would under the same or similar circumstances. However, this provision has not been applied to any cases for a medical emergency.
If you are the victim of a Portland car accident, contact Peter Thompson & Associates at 1-800-490-5218 for a confidential consultation to discuss your rights.
Driver killed in turnpike crash was esteemed longtime volunteer, Nov. 21, 2017, By Beth Quimby, The Portland Press Herald
More Blog Entries:
Authorities Investigate Cause of Deadly Maine Truck Accident, Oct. 7, 2017, Maine Trucking Accident Lawyer Blog