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Trucker may have been asleep in crash that killed 5

Pennsylvania residents may have heard about an accident involving a tractor-trailer and two cars that killed five people in Georgia on May 19. The horrific accident occurred on I-16 west of Savannah near its junction with I-95.

According to reports, the tractor-trailer had been seen drifting across the lanes of traffic prior to the collision. The truck first side-swiped a car, then striking a Hyundai carrying a 39-year-old woman, a 16-year-old girl and a 19-year-old man. Two were ejected and all three were killed.

Next, the truck reportedly crushed another car carrying a 71-year-old man and his 72-year-old lady friend. They were both killed as well, and the truck then burst into flames. Investigators indicated they believe the truck's driver may have fallen asleep while behind the wheel. He survived but was severely injured. Charges have not yet been filed pending the completion of the investigation into the crash. The fatal accident was the second in less than a month on I-16. The earlier crash resulted in the deaths of five nursing students from Georgia State University and occurred only 20 miles from the location of this accident.

A truck accident can be especially catastrophic, given the physical forces involved with the weight and size of a tractor-trailer. Truck drivers are mandated to take rest breaks and to stop driving if they are tired. Drivers who fall asleep at the wheel place others on the road around them at serious risk. In the event a person is killed in a truck accident due to such negligence, the victim's family may be able to hold both the driver as well as the commercial carrier responsible through a wrongful death lawsuit.

Source: ABC News, "Officials Probe Whether Trucker in Georgia Crash Fell Asleep," Russ Bynum, May 20, 2015

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Gregory R. Gifford
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