Driver Charged In Truck Accident Commits Suicide

One serious Oklahoma truck accident led to the death of four North Central College softball players in September 2014 and is in the news again. The truck driver charged with four counts of first degree manslaughter in that accident died on Jan. 27. The Tarrant County medical examiner's office determined that he committed suicide.

Before the crash, the team's head coach was driving the bus returning 15 players back to Gainesville after playing a scrimmage in Oklahoma. A northbound 18-wheeler drove across the Interstate 35 median and crashed into the left side of the bus. Four ballplayers, ages 18 to 20-years-old, were killed in the accident. The coach and 11 other passengers were hospitalized.

After a 9-month police investigation, the truck driver was charged with manslaughter in June 2015. He was scheduled to go to trial for these charges on March 8 in Murray County.

After its investigation, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued a report in Nov. 2015. The NTSB found that the accident was caused by the truck driver's inability to control his vehicle because he was incapacitated from using synthetic cannabinoids. The lack of appropriate crash-worthiness standards in the bus and the failure to use seat belts also contributed to the severity of the injuries suffered in the accident.

According to the NTSB, the truck driver told the police that he was reaching for a soft drink when he felt the truck drifting. However, a pipe was found in the truck's cab containing a substance that tested positive for a synthetic cannabinoid also identified as K2. The driver's inability to take evasive action, according to the NTSB, was caused by incapacitation from using synthetic cannabinoids and not from truck driver fatigue or reaching for the beverage. The truck company and truck driver were sued in three separate lawsuits. Two suits were dismissed.

Victims of an accident caused by an impaired or reckless truck driver may be entitled to compensation for injuries and other losses. Such individuals may want to consider taking steps to see that their legal rights are protected.

Source: , NewsOK.com, "Truck driver charged in crash that killed 4 college softball players dies by suicide," By Claire Z. Cardona, The Dallas Morning News, Jan. 30, 2017

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