A 17-year-old female passenger in an SUV died when a box truck crossed the center line in the highway, hitting the vehicle. The driver of SUV also suffered injuries. The 34-year-old male truck driver, who is employed by a furniture company, was also injured, as was his 23-year-old male passenger, a co-worker. The two men in the truck were both residents of Jackson, Missouri. The dead woman lived in Glenallen, Missouri, and the driver of the SUV was a resident of Marble Hill, Missouri.
The truck accident occurred on Highway 34 as the truck headed west and the SUV went east. The trucker faced criminal charges arising out of the accident, and at a court hearing his injured coworker stated that he had been smoking marijuana a number of times on the day of the crash and asserted that he was high when the crash occurred. Charges in the case include second-degree assault and first-degree involuntary manslaughter. The trucker has had a series of run-ins with the law, including those for driving with a suspended license, a 2001 DWI, and speeding violations in five different years.
He additionally is facing a wrongful death lawsuit from the father of the dead woman, as well as a personal injury lawsuit from his injured passenger. The passenger's lawsuit also named the trucker's employer as a defendant.
When a driver kills or injures others in an accident, both they and their employer can be sued for wrongful death and personal injuries if the trucker is acting within the scope of their employment, doing their job at the time of the accident. Such lawsuits are important to obtain compensation for accident victims and their families, and to help deter reckless driving by others as well.
Source: Southeast Missourian, "Furniture-truck driver faces another lawsuit" Emily Priddy, Dec. 05, 2013