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Dupée & Monroe, P.C., Attorneys at Law
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Tragic Local Accident Takes Three Lives

Trailer accident

A recent accident in Orange County serves as a heart-wrenching example of the importance of observing the rules of the road on following too closely, and the possibly life-saving measure of pulling off the roadway in the event of mechanical trouble or a minor accident.

At approximately 3:30 a.m. on the morning of Wednesday, June 1, a driver was traveling west in an older sedan with her 10-year-old daughter, 14-year-old niece and two dogs when the sedan ran out of gas between Exits 3 and 2 in the town of Wawayanda. Investigations later revealed that the family was in the process of relocating from Bridgeport, Connecticut to Virginia. Rather than pull off the highway, the driver turned on her hazards and remained stopped in the highway’s passing lane. The driver called 911 for assistance from the car, but was unable to provide a precise location for where she had stopped. The driver had been on the phone with the 911 dispatcher for approximately three minutes when a tractor-trailer delivering auto parts rammed into the sedan from behind. The collision sent both the sedan and tractor-trailer off the road and into the center embankment. The occupants of the car all died at the scene of the accident. The driver of the semi-truck was not injured in the crash. When the truck driver was later asked what happened during the crash, he told authorities that he saw the sedan with its hazards on, but believed that the car was simply traveling at a slow speed and was not completely stopped. The crash remains under investigation, but no charges have been filed against the truck driver.

New York state Vehicle Traffic Law 1129 bans all drivers from following other vehicles too closely, but imposes even greater restrictions on drivers of trucks and tractor-trailers. This is due to the fact that loaded tractor-trailers require up to twice as much distance to come to a complete stop than do passenger vehicles when traveling at highway speeds. As a result, truck drivers are required to leave enough space between themselves and the vehicles in front of them that another vehicle could merge into the lane in front of the truck without incident. While the driver of the truck in this accident has not been charged with a crime, if the truck was unable to discern that the sedan was completely stopped in the time during which it approached the vehicle, it seems possible that the truck was traveling too fast and attempting to follow that vehicle too closely. This tragedy is also a reminder that moving off the road whenever possible when faced with an emergency or stalled vehicle is important when using a major highway such as Interstate 84.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a truck accident in New York, seek the compensation you deserve for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering by contacting the compassionate and experienced Goshen personal injury attorneys at Dupée & Monroe at 845-294-8900.

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