Trucking accidents are truly terrible. The injuries are usually very serious, and families need to know that those responsible will be held accountable for their actions. Sometimes, even when criminal penalties are imposed, it also takes a civil lawsuit to hold the offender accountable.
An Illinois truck driver, Zygmunt Wieckowski, was recently sentenced for a truck accident that killed four people this past January. Wieckowski was traveling westbound on Interstate 70, near Springfield, Ohio. The roadways were snow covered due to a heavy snowstorm that was hitting the area. The tanker truck went across the median, entering the eastbound lanes of traffic. After clipping a passing car, it hit a bus carrying special-needs passengers head-on, killing four of the 11 occupants.
Wieckowski said he was going between 40 and 45 miles per hour, taking his foot off of the accelerator before the truck started speeding up on its own. The truck started swaying on the snow-covered roads, and he began braking in an effort to keep out of the other lanes of traffic.
Law enforcement officials believed that speed was a factor in the accident, especially with the road conditions at that time. After the investigation was complete, Wieckowski faced misdemeanor charges of vehicular manslaughter, failing to control his vehicle, and speeding. After pleading no contest to all of the charges against him, Wieckowski was sentenced to 30 days in jail.
Criminal penalties that are this light after a fatal accident can leave victims’ families feeling as though justice has not been served. This situation highlights how such a serious accident can impact a close-knit community. One of those killed in the accident, Traci Williams, the bus driver, worked extensively with special-needs adults.
Families of those killed and injured may have other avenues to hold the driver responsible for his actions. Families that lost a loved one may pursue a wrongful deathaction against driver and employer to recover compensation for their loss. Those that have been injured may be able to recover compensation for medical bills and missed time from work, as well as damages for pain and suffering. An experienced attorney can help you learn about the options available to you if you have been injured in a car or truck accident.
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