As a Missouri trucking accident attorney, I was disappointed to read about an accident last week that took the lives of two members of Missouri’s Amish community. The St. Joseph News-Press reported Nov. 12 that three people died and four others were injured in a crash caused by a grain truck that lost a wheel outside of the northwestern Missouri town of Jamesport. The grain truck’s driver, David Leeper, 51, managed to steer the truck to the edge of the road, but a minivan following it hit the wheel lying in the road. The minivan skidded, rolled over and hit the grain truck.
The accident killed driver Maria Hostetler, 40; passenger Chester Gingerich, 48; and his son Perry Gingerich, 16. The elder Gingerich’s wife, Wilma Gingerirch, 46, was hospitalized in critical condition in Kansas City. Also hospitalized were their son, Steven Gingerich, 20, and son-in-law, Calvin Beechy, 25, as well as Leeper. Everyone involved but Leeper and Hostetler was part of the Amish community in Jamesport. The article does not mention a police report or investigation, but neighbor Bryan Carmenati speculated for the newspaper about whether the grain truck was roadworthy. Noting that the truck was 40 years old, he suggested that the crash could have been avoided if it had been retired or better maintained.
As a St. Louis tractor-trailer accident lawyer, I suspect that he’s right. Long-haul commercial trucks tend to be newer models because they get a lot of use. Grain trucks used for short hauls may spend more time parked, but four decades is old even for a passenger vehicle. To continue safely driving such a vehicle, owners must give it thorough routine maintenance and check for problems. Failure to do so can have catastrophic consequences like the ones described in the article. Just like long-haul trucks, farm trucks are much larger and heavier than ordinary passenger vehicles, which means they bring many times the force to any crash between the two vehicle types. And that means that even a slow-speed crash, grain trucks and other short-distance trucks have the power to kill or catastrophically injure people in the smaller vehicles.
Just like all truck drivers and trucking companies, operators of farm and delivery trucks have a legal obligation to make sure their equipment is safe and well-secured before they venture onto roads shared with vulnerable smaller vehicles. Truckers and trucking companies of all kinds also have a legal obligation to make sure their driving is safe and meets the safety standards laid down by federal law. At the Lowe Law Firm, we focus our practice on representing people who were seriously injured when truckers and trucking companies failed in those duties. Our southern Illinois 18-wheeler accident attorneys help victims recover all of the costs of these accidents, which can be severe, including six-figure medical bills, a lifetime of lost income, compensation for a disability or death and sometimes funeral costs.
If your family has suffered a serious injury or wrongful death in a semi truck crash, the Lowe Law Firm can help. To set up a free, confidential evaluation of your case, please contact us through the Internet or call us toll-free at 1-877-68-3400 today.