Distracted driving by the driver of a tractor-trailer resulted in a tragic accident that claimed the lives of four college softball players.
The accident occurred Friday night on Interstate 35 near Davis, Oklahoma. The Northbound tractor-trailer truck failed to negotiate a curve and continued across the median where it struck a southbound bus carrying members of the North Central Texas College softball team.
After crashing into the side of the bus, the truck continued across the southbound lanes of Interstate 35 before striking and uprooting several trees.
The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating. No problems were found with the truck’s brakes but investigators were still attempting to download the truck’s data recorder to review if the brakes were applied.
Ther Oklahoma Highway Patrol is conducting a criminal investigation into the crash. Patrol investigators reported that the truck driver admitted to distracted driving.
“He said he was distracted by something in the cabin,” accrding to Patrol Captain Ronnie Hampton. Hampton did not disclose what the alleged distraction was. Hampton stated that search warrants have been obtained to collect evidence from the truck and bus.
In addition to the four young women who died in the crash, at least a dozen more players wer injured. Two of the injured women remained hospitalized – one in critical but stable condition at Oklahoma University Medical Center and one in fair condition at Norman Regional Hospital.
Nationwide, motor vehicle crashes involving large trucks and buses claimed the lives of 4,281 people in 2013.
According to the latest available figures, 3,092 deaths from distracted driving were recorded in 2010. Since many drivers involved in motor vehicle accidents are understandably unwilling to admit that they were texting or engaging in other distracted driving behavior or because the distracted driver died in the accident, experts believe that the actual number of deaths may be considerably higher. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood stated “Distracted driving is a dangerous and deadly habit on America’s roadways – that’s why I’ve made it a priority to encourage people to stay focused behind the wheel.”
The personal injury and wrongful death attorneys at Clark, Perdue & List are experienced in handling cases involving distracted driving. If you or a loved one has been injured in an automobile accident and you believe that the driver responsible for the accident was distracted, contact Clark, Perdue & List.