An illegal pass attempted by the driver of a semi-truck near Burns last week left the driver of an oncoming car dead and her passenger hospitalized in critical condition, according to The Oregonian.
The newspaper writes that the Oregon truck crash took place on US-20, near milepost 156. First responders arriving on the scene found the semi-truck “tangled with a Ford Focus to the side of the road.” Citing law enforcement sources, the paper reports that the truck “was towing a flatbed trailer westbound on the highway when (the driver) attempted to pass a slower motorhome in a no-passing area with double yellow lines.” The driver of the Focus, which was traveling in the eastbound lane “attempted to avoid the collision by swerving into a ditch, but (the truck) attempted the same maneuver… they crashed near the edge of the highway.”
The driver of the car died at the scene of the head-on semi-truck crash. Her passenger was flown to a Portland hospital with life-threatening injuries. The truck driver “was taken to the Harney County Hospital, where he was treated for minor injuries,” the newspaper reports.
The Oregonian reports that the driver of the truck may face criminal charges. In addition, however, based on the information reported by the paper there appears to be a strong case to be made for a wrongful death lawsuit as well as reckless driving charges.
As an Oregon wrongful death attorney I have used this space on many occasions to warn of the dangers large trucks pose, particularly on the narrow, winding roads of Eastern Oregon. Obviously we cannot remove large trucks from our roads, but it is essential that the legal system reminds the trucking industry – drivers and truck owners alike – that it has a responsibility to operate safely and legally at all times. It is equally important that our courts hold drivers and their employers accountable when reckless actions and a disregard for both the law and other people’s safety leads to tragedies like this.