Alleged Impaired Georgia Truck Driver Causes Fatal Crash

Posted in truck accident on April 11, 2021

The family of Georgia high school principal Jaroy Stuckey is suing a number of insurance and trucking companies concerning a four-vehicle crash on I-16 in Bulloch County last month.

The accident with a semi killed Dr. Stuckey, his pregnant wife, and their child on the afternoon of March 14th. Stuckey was well known in the Dublin community. He was named principal at Dublin High School in 2019.

Details of the Accident and Legal Action

An experienced Atlanta personal injury lawyer will typically investigate the crash, gather the evidence, interview with witnesses, meet with doctors, hire experts and file a lawsuit against the trucking company and the insurance companies through Georgia’s direct action statute.  Here, the Stuckey family filed a 36-page complaint in Gwinnett County Superior Court against the trucking and insurance companies involved in the crash. They are asking a jury to award them $300 million. The suit seeks $200 million for the wrongful death of the Stuckey family, as well as $60 million for pain and suffering, and an additional $40 million for the estates of the family.

Stuckey, his pregnant wife Elysea and their son A.J. were driving on I-16W in Bulloch County on that Sunday afternoon. The Stuckey’s car was struck by a semi whose driver was impaired, asleep, or distracted by his cellphone, the complaint claims. The tractor-trailer propelled the Stuckeys’ car forward into another big rig, which caused a diesel explosion. The truck that rear-ended the Stuckey family car was traveling at a high rate of speed and didn’t apply its brakes.

The Stuckeys’ Acura was covered by burning diesel fuel after impact. All of the occupants in the car were pronounced dead at the scene and later identified as the Stuckey family.

The lawsuit states that the truck was driven by Derrick Thomas and operated by MC Tank Transportation. Toxicology tests on the semi truck driver are still pending.

A fourth vehicle was sideswiped in the collision. There was a person in the tanker, two in the 18-wheeler, and at least one person in the fourth vehicle, according to the Georgia State Patrol.

The other drivers were traveling below the speed limit. This caused the traffic on I-16W to back up, the lawsuit explains.

The Georgia State Patrol Specialized Collision Reconstruction Team will conduct a follow-up investigation, and charges are pending the results of that investigation.

“He attended Dublin High, he played on a championship team, and he was just a legend. There’s no replacing him he is one of the top tier guys,” says Joshua Isaac a student at Dublin High School.

Impaired Drivers Cause Accidents

Semi drivers who are sleepy, have consumed alcohol or drugs or who are incapacitated by illness are hazards to Georgia motorists. Watch for these signs of impaired big rig drivers:

  • Weaving across the road or drifting from one side to another;
  • Drifting off the road and dropping the semi’s right wheels to the shoulder, or bumping across a curb in a turn;
  • Stopping at the wrong time, like at a green light or waiting for too long at a stop;
  • Keeping a window open in cold weather;
  • Speeding up or slowing down suddenly; and
  • Driving too fast or too slowly.

Also, motorists should be alert for drunk and sleepy semi drivers late at night.

Like in the accident on I-16 in Bulloch County, truck drivers who fail to maintain normal speed are hazards. Also, federal regulations restrict the use of cellphones by drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs). There are driver disqualification sanctions for drivers of semis who fail to comply with this federal restriction, or who have multiple convictions for violating a Georgia state law or local ordinance on motor vehicle traffic control that restricts the use of cellphones.

In addition, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) prohibit texting by semi drivers while operating in interstate commerce. There are also new semi driver disqualification sanctions for drivers of CMVs who fail to comply with this federal regulation, or who have multiple convictions for violating a Georgia law or local ordinance on motor vehicle traffic control that prohibits texting while driving.

Plus, trucking companies are prohibited from requiring or allowing their drivers to engage in cellphone use or texting while driving a tractor-trailer.

Takeaway

Research shows that the chances of being involved in a safety-critical event—such as an accident, a near-crash, or an unintentional lane deviation—is six times greater for big rig drivers who use a cellphone while driving than for those who don’t.

Those using cellphones took their eyes off the forward roadway for an average of 3.8 seconds. At 55 mph (or 80.7 feet per second), this means a driver travels 306 feet without looking at the road.

Contact an Experienced Atlanta Truck Accident Attorney

If a semi driver reacts a half-second slower because of distractions like cellphone use or sleepiness, accidents in Georgia double.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a semi accident, you should work with an experienced Atlanta truck accident attorney like those of Tobin Injury Law. We understand state and federal commercial carrier laws and have represented hundreds of auto drivers and motorcyclists who have been hurt because of the negligence of a truck driver and trucking companies. We will investigate the driver’s condition to determine if he or she had a health issue or was driving while impaired that contributed to your accident.

Before you speak with a claims adjuster from an insurance company, contact an experienced Atlanta personal injury lawyer at Tobin Injury Law.