Law enforcement officials recently detained a trucker who they suspect was distracted by his cellphone during a fatal crash on the New Jersey Turnpike in June. Officials filed multiple charges agsinst the 55-year-old man, including vehicular homicide.
The accident occurred in Carlstadt, involved multiple vehicles and injured several persons, one fatally. It reportedly transpired at about 5 p.m. That is when the 55-year-old trucker was driving a 1996 Kenworth tractor-trailer south on the Turnpike and allegedly became so engaged with his cellphone that he failed to notice traffic decelerating ahead of him. Consequently, the Kenworth tractor-trailer rear-ended a vehicle, initiating a chain-reaction crash, officials claim.
A 43-year-old Harrison man suffered fatal injuries in the crash. Officials at the accident scene pronounced him dead. Five other people, including a woman and her 2-year-old child, were sent to hospitals for treatment of injuries they suffered in connection with the incident, authorities reported. Two other people were injured but refused medical attention.
Besides the criminal charges, the 55-year-old trucker also received two vehicle summonses in relation to the accident. One is for improper use of a cellular phone, and the other is for reckless driving.
If this case were to yield evidence of reckless or negligent driving sufficient enough to prove to a civil court that the at-fault driver should be held liable for the event, then the people who suffered damages as a result of the chain-reaction crash might be awarded financial compensation. That is because accident victims and families of deceased accident victims often retain a personal injury lawyer following trucking accidents like this one and pursue civil action, such as a wrongful death claim or personal injury claim. Such claimants may hold the at-fault party accountable for an accident and its consequent damages regardless of any criminal charges accompanying the incident.