Cagle Law Firm
Attorney Zane Cagle

Posted on January 29th, 2015,
by Zane Cagle

Five Killed in Four Separate Overnight Accidents in St. Louis, Missouri

Posted on January 29th, 2015 by Zane Cagle

Fatal Car Crash Attorney St. Louis

Photo courtesy KTVI, January 28, 2015

Four Fatal Crashes

Wednesday night was a fatal night for four people in the greater St. Louis area.  News reports four separate violent crashes overnight killed at least four people.  The first fatal crash occurred around 10:30 p.m. on northbound Interstate 55 near the Butler Hill Road exit.  A tractor trailer had a tire blowout and was rear ended by a 2010 Dodge Avenger. The car went underneath the tractor-trailer and the 32 year-old female driver from Imperial, Missouri was killed. According to the Missouri Highway State Patrol, rear tires blew out on the truck and its driver tried to make it to the side of the road. The truck driver from Ozark, Alabama was not injured.

The second  crash also occurred around Midnight when a car went off the road and killed two pedestrians near the intersection of Kienlen and Evanston Avenues. Wellston Police Lt. Chris Clay said the victims appeared to be in their 20’s.. The victims were hit while walking on the sidewalk and were heading home from the store.  The impact of the crash shattered the bumper of the car and killed the male and female pedestrian victims. St. Louis County Police Sgt. Brian Schellman said a 19 year-old woman was driving on Kienlan when she swerved to avoid an oncoming car. She lost control and struck the two pedestrians on the sidewalk. Shellman also said the motorist has not been arrested.

The third crash occurred around 2 a.m. when a car traveling east on the McKinley Bridge hit the guardrail, stopped in the middle of the road and was struck by a tractor-trailer. When first responders arrived at the scene, the male victim was removed from the car and airlifted to Saint Louis University Hospital and he is listed as critical. The bridge was closed until about 7 a.m. while crews cleared debris and investigators did their work.

The final crash happened around 2:30 a.m. when a driver traveling westbound on Interstate 70/44 lost control of their car hit a guardrail and concrete wall before flipping near the Cass overpass north of downtown St. Louis. The car then erupted in flames. Police said the car, a Grand Prix, was traveling at a high rate of speed when the driver lost control near the Cass Avenue overpass. One of the victims was thrown from the vehicle, but both female victims were pronounced dead at the scene. The stretch of Interstate 44 there was part of the Interstate 70 before the construction of the Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge.

The causes of all four crashes are still being investigated.

While car crashes are common,  so many fatalities in one night due to such violent crashes is uncommon.  Five people were killed in four violent crashes. In at least two of the crashes, tractor-trailers were involved.  St. Louis drivers are all to familiar with the often heavy and fast traffic on interstates through the St. Louis area.  Crashes on bridges and around construction areas can be especially complicated.  Usually when we read about a traffic fatality, it is generally in regard to one interstate, but Tuesday night/Wednesday morning crashes included both Interstate 55 and Interstate 44. Actually, the crash on Interstate 44 was at a junction to Interstate 70 thus, technically, it includes three interstates.

Car crash fatalities are unexpected and traumatic.  While the ages of all of the victims have not been released, it would appear that many of the victims were relatively young.  The officer estimated that the victims of the pedestrian accident were in their 20’s and the Imperial woman was only 32 years of age.  While it is not more tragic for a young person to die than a middle-aged person, we naturally wonder what kind of promise of “things yet to come” from young lives cut short. . The death of anyone is a loss, especially to those who loved the deceased.

After a fatal motor vehicle crash, St. Louis County and St. Louis City officers do  scene investigations.  If you have lost a loved one in a fatal crash, the investigation into the “how” and “why” is a lot to think about while you are dealing with the shock of the loss.  If there is any possibility that someone was negligent or possibly hurt your loved one or contributed to their injuries, gathering evidence in the days following the crash is critical.

Wrongful Death Cases in Missouri

Under Missouri law, individuals that can bring a wrongful death claim include a parent, spouse, child or adopted child. These are what Missouri calls “Tier One Representatives”. Under certain circumstances, “Tier Two Representatives” which include siblings, brothers and sisters, can bring a wrongful death claim. In some instances a “Tier Three Representative” can bring a wrongful death claim but only if there are not any Tier One or Tier Two Representatives.  The rationale for this is fairly simple– The people who have suffered loss and were in a direct relationship with the deceased are allowed to bring a wrongful death claim.   However, in every wrongful death settlement or verdict, the proceeds of that verdict or settlement have to be distributed by a judge in a  “wrongful death hearing”. At that time, the judge makes a distribution based upon contact with the decedent.

It is very difficult to think about a wrongful death claim if you have just suffered a traumatic loss. However, the days following a fatal automobile crash are the critical days to contact an attorney, so that valuable evidence can be collected and preserved.  Often evidence has a way of being thrown away or purged and witnesses do not recall events quite a clearly as they in the days and weeks directly following a crash.

If you have lost a loved one, the last thing that you want or can think about dealing with is an insurance company or investigations.  You are working to try to establish any normalcy in your life that quite frankly, will never be quite the same again after such a loss.   At The Cagle Law Firm, we have a lot of experience in wrongful death claims.

When looking for an attorney, you have to find an attorney you can trust.  Communication and trust are the two essential ingredients in any attorney-client relationship.  The attorney must be able to get to know your loved one through you and your family in order to share your loved one’s story.

It’s a difficult time. Loss of a loved one is one of the most difficult experiences of the human condition and is often life-changing.  At The Cagle Law Firm, our attorneys give free consultations seven days a week.   Call us if you have questions about what you should be doing to preserve evidence in  a potential wrongful death case. Call us toll free (314) 276-1681 or locally (314) 276-1681