Cagle Law Firm
Attorney Zane Cagle

Posted on September 5th, 2012,
by Zane Cagle

Missouri Tractor-Trailer Driver Convicted of Involuntary Manslaughter Involving New Melle Women

Posted on September 5th, 2012 by Zane Cagle

Trailer Driver Convicted of Involuntary Manslaughter Involving New Melle WomenA St. Charles County jury found a 27-yr old man of Marthasville guilty of two counts of involuntary manslaughter and one misdemeanor that resulted from a July 2009 tractor trailer accident.  Prosecutors said that the driver did not properly secure a bulldozer he was hauling and he was driving too fast while eastbound on Highway D near Sneak Road. The bulldozer fell off of the trailer, bounced and landed on a westbound Mercury Grand Marquis driven by a 63 yr-old woman  The New Melle woman and her mother, a 86 yr-old woman, died of injuries they sustained in that crash.

During closing arguments, the assistant prosecutor compared the 27 yr-old’s failure to secure the bulldozer and excessive speed to a gun with a 42,000 bullet according to sources in the St. Louis Post Dispatch. The assistant prosecutor further stated that the two binders that held the bulldozer in place were grossly inadequate. According to the prosecution, the man was driving in excess of the posted 30 mph. She stated that 30 mph was the speed limit for passenger cars and a tractor trailer with a heavy load like a bulldozer should have been driving at a reduced speed.  In addition, the tractor-trailer had more than two dozen violations including a flat tire and several other tires that were bald.

The defending attorney called the crash a tragic accident but said that the 27 yr old did not grossly disregard the safety of himself or others.

This was a tragic accident.  After reading this article, each of us will draw a variety of conclusions. Each of those conclusions will be based on our own past experiences. Maybe you have lost a loved one in a tractor trailer accident. Maybe you have been injured or had a loved one injured due to a negligent decision on the part of someone else.

Often  the negligent act of another is not tried in criminal court but rather through our civil courts.  The news article did state that a civil suit is pending.  A  wrongful death civil suit is probably the civil suit pending. A common belief by many is if someone is convicted of  a criminal crime such as involuntary manslaughter or multiple misdemeanors, then they will naturally win  lose a civil suit…..this is not the case. The flip is not always the rule either.

No two cases are identical. I have had similar tractor trailer cases.  I certainly empathize with the families of these two women killed as a result of someone else’s decision.  Drivers of tractor trailers are held to a higher standard than passenger car drivers simply because the result of their decisions can gravely affect not just their safety but others.  This mother and daughter were traveling together and who would have thought they would be hit by a bull dozer?  While some may agree with the defending attorney’s statement that this accident and the odds that a bulldozer would fall off the truck at the exact moment the women were driving by is about the same likelihood of wining the Powerball lottery. I meet people every day that have been on the losing end of those odds.

What many do not think about is the fact that a second can be a long time when it comes to auto accidents.  Just a second to double check a secure line or a second to reduce your speed can be the difference in another person being hit or proceeding with their day never realizing how close they came to injury. The defending attorney claimed there was brake failure.  Upon reading this article and the list of over two dozen violations, I do not doubt that the brakes failed.  Sounds like from reading this article, that failed brakes were just one of many violations.

I am glad to see a St. Charles County Court holding a tractor trailer party accountable for being safe.  Tractor trailers are important to our country as they deliver goods and services. However, tractor trailers account for way too many deaths and serious injuries on our highways.  They have a proportionately higher rate of injury and fatalities than do passenger cars.   Many say they have a higher number of accidents because they spend longer on the roads. This is not a true statement.  In research studies done, tractor trailer accidents occur more often that passenger car accidents when factors such as time on the highway and miles were calculated.  Tractor trailer companies must be held accountable to ensure that their employees follow all safety measures and checks.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident or tractor trailer accident, consulting an attorney is one of the first things you need to do after seeking medical attention.  In tractor trailer accidents, there is usually a great deal of evidence at the scene that needs to be collected for a thorough investigation.  Calling a personal injury attorney soon after the crash ensures that valuable evidence is secured and proper investigations occur.  At The Cagle Law Firm, we represent victims of serious tractor trailer cases. We understand the process of getting a thorough investigation obtained.  We take pride in getting to know our clients as individuals. How else can our client’s stories be told to a jury if we do not know it?

If you have been injured and need information to make a good decision, our consultations are always free. Call Zane T. Cagle at The Cagle Law Firm (314) 276-1681 or see what our former clients have to say about how we worked with them to handle their particular accident.

Weich, S. Marthaville truck driver found guildty in double-fatal crash. St. Louis Post Dispatch, 9/1/12