It is a common trope for someone to say that their “life flashed before their eyes” during a dangerous situation or near-death experience. A Maine woman may know this feeling intimately after her experience as part of a multi-vehicle collision that nearly killed her in Franklin County late last month. According to a local news report discussing the crash, winter driving conditions appeared to trigger a chain reaction crash involving several vehicles and a semi-truck. The crash reportedly injured several people, and one woman, fortunately, avoided being killed by jumping under the out-of-control semi-truck as it slid toward her.
According to the local news report, the crash was triggered on an early morning late last month when a 41-year-old man driving a tractor-trailer lost control of the vehicle on an icy patch of road that was caused by freezing rain. The out-of-control truck then struck several vehicles and started to slide sideways across all lanes of travel on the highway. One woman, who was standing outside of her car on the roadside addressing an unrelated issue when the accident occurred, was forced to jump under the oncoming semi-truck as it slid sideways toward her vehicle. The semi passed over the woman, then struck her vehicle and slid into a roadside ditch. When all was said and done, at least four vehicles were involved in the crash, and several people were reportedly injured and transported to a local hospital in the aftermath of the accident.
Semi-truck drivers have an increased duty to operate their vehicles safely on Maine roads. Their duty is especially important in the winter months or during other periods with dangerous weather and variable road conditions. Because semi-truck drivers are generally required to obtain a commercial driver’s license to operate their vehicles, they have undergone additional training on how to safely operate large vehicles during inclement weather. If the driver of a tractor-trailer operates their vehicle and causes an accident, they can be held liable for any damages caused as a result of the crash. If a truck driver negligently triggers a chain-reaction crash, they are legally responsible to compensate all victims hurt or killed in the crash even if the truck was not directly involved in the subsequent collisions.