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Truck driver accused of smoking pot before fatally hitting teen

A 34-year-old male truck driver, according to an eyewitness, had been doing a lot of marijuana smoking the entire day before causing a truck accident that ended the life of a 17-year-old girl, a resident of Glenallen, Missouri. She suffered both a cervical fracture amounting to a broken neck and spinal shock -- injuries that quickly proved to be fatal. The accident took place near Burfordville on Highway 34.

The driver, who was operating a box truck, veered his vehicle across the centerline in the road, resulting in a powerful head-on crash with the vehicle the teenager was in. The male driver of the SUV she was riding in was also injured, as was the truck driver and his male passenger. The truck driver is facing both second degree assault charges and a charge of involuntary manslaughter.

Criminal charges, while appropriate for such reckless behavior, especially when they cause death and serious injury, do not include a mechanism for compensating accident victims and their families. For that, personal injury attorneys are required to bring wrongful death and personal injury lawsuits. While no amount of money can ever really compensate a family for the loss of a loved one or an accident victim for excruciating pain and disability, it is only right that such irresponsible drivers, rather than accident victims and their families, should pay for medical expenses, funeral costs, and lost income and disability. Such lawsuits can also help send a message to reckless truckers and their employers that such callous disregard for human life will not be tolerated.

Use of drugs and alcohol are frequent causes of truck accidents, putting the lives and safety of other motorists, passengers, pedestrians, and bike riders at risk. In a court hearing, the truck driver's own passenger stated that he was a coworker of the driver at a furniture company and had been frightened about his safety after seeing the trucker's constant marijuana pipe smoking that day. He held off reporting this drug use to a company supervisor because of the fact that it was just his first day on the job.

Source: Southeast Missourian, "Witness: Driver smoked pot all day before fatal crash" Emily Priddy, Oct. 13, 2013

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