I-10 Crash Kills Good Samaritan And Seriously Injures Driver

A runaway tractor-trailer killed a bystander as he tried to help a stranded motorist re-attach a U-Haul trailer to her vehicle.

According to Louisiana State Police, the large truck wreck occurred on westbound Interstate 10 in Henderson. As 26-year-old Tanika Adams, of Jacksonville, Fla., pulled a trailer with her Volkswagen Tiguan, it came loose and blocked the outside lane. Ms. Adams pulled to the shoulder and then tried to pull the stranded trailer out of the traffic lane; a short time thereafter, 25-year-old Vineeth Keesara, of Lafayette, stopped and rendered assistance. A few moments later, an oncoming Perterbilt tractor-trailer slammed into the disabled trailer, instantly killing Mr. Keesara and seriously injuring Ms. Adams.The Peterbilt driver, whose name was not released, was probably not intoxicated and probably will not face charges.

Large Truck Wrecks

Fully-loaded tractor trailers weigh upwards of 80,000 pounds, and vehicles this large are very difficult to stop suddenly, even if the driver is very experienced. In large truck wrecks, that massive force often leads to catastrophic injuries, including:

  • Severe Burns: Since gasoline burns at a different temperature than diesel fuel, and diesel fuel is also a little denser than gasoline, victims often sustain third and even fourth-degree burns over much of their bodies.
  • Trauma Injuries: Large trucks weigh about sixteen times more than most passenger cars, so the trauma injuries in large truck wrecks are generally much worse than the ones that occur in car crashes, especially at freeway speeds.
  • Wrongful Death: The burns and trauma injuries, not to mention the internal injuries and severe blood loss, are often too much to survive.

“Bobtailing” trucks (cabs that are not pulling trailers) are almost as dangerous as fully-loaded tractor trailers, because these vehicles are very difficult to control, since all the weight is at the front. Since the Panama Canal expanded a few years ago, both kinds of trucks are now much more common on Louisiana roadways, especially I-10 and other major throughways.

Liability in Large Truck Wrecks

Truck drivers, taxi drivers, Uber drivers, and all other operators who transport cargo or passengers for fees are common carriers, and they are subject to a “stringent” duty of care under Louisiana law. In fact, if victims prove injury, negligence is presumed as a matter of law.

This duty applies in speed-related large truck wrecks. In the above story, it appears the truck driver was going too fast to maneuver or slow down. Even though Louisiana does not have a lower speed truck speed limit, many other states do have such provisions, because truck drivers simply need to drive a little slower to fulfill their heightened duty of care and avoid these kinds of large truck wrecks.

The respondeat superior rule (“let the master answer”) dictates that the trucking or shipping company is probably responsible for damages in large truck cases, whether or not the driver was an “employee” for income tax purposes, as long as the driver was acting within the course and scope of employment at the time of the vehicle collision.

For prompt assistance with a large truck wreck matter, contact T-Claude Devall or another experienced Lake Charles personal injury attorney from Hoffoss Devall today, because you have a limited amount of time to act.