In Oregon, the family of Tracey Sparling is suing a cement truck driver and his employer for her wrongful death. Sparling, 19, sustained fatal crush injuries on October 11, 2007 after her bicycle was struck by the large truck. The deadly Portland truck accident occurred at the intersection of Burnside and Southwest 14th Avenue.
Both Sparling and truck driver Timothy Wiles were stopped at a red light. Sparling was stopped in a bike lane located on the right side of the road in an area that Wiles couldn’t see.
When the light turned green, the trucker turned right. Sparling was crushed under the truck’s back wheels. The cement truck, which weighed 40,000 pounds, belonged to Rinker Materials, which was purchased by Cemex Corp.
Now, the Portland bicyclist’s family is seeking $2 million for her wrongful death. Sparling was a student at Pacific Northwest College of Art when she died.
Large-sized trucks tend to have large blind spots, which makes it difficult for them to see everything and everyone around them. This can result in serious injuries, especially to bicyclists, motorcyclists, and pedestrians that the trucker may not be able to see in his or her mirror.
Catastrophic truck accidents have also been known to occur when the trucker is making a turn because he or she cannot see what is right next to the large truck. “Squeeze play” refers to a trucking accident involving a vehicle that got squeezed between a bus or a truck and the curb. A few other causes of truck accidents include failure to brake properly or in a timely manner, brake failure, and rear-end crashes because the trucker did not keep enough distance between the truck and the vehicle in front of it.
Family of cyclist files lawsuit in her death, OregonLive.com, March 18, 2009
Cyclist killed was top student, creative woman, The Oregonian.com, October 12, 2007
Related Web Resources:
Bicyclist Safety Program, Oregon.gov
Oregon Department of Transportation