Police have arrested a semi-truck driver they say was responsible for causing a fatal 28-vehicle crash on Interstate 70 on Thursday. Four people were killed in the pileup and another 10 were sent to local hospitals with injuries. 23-year-old Rogel Lazaro Aguilera-Mederos has been charged with four counts of vehicular homicide.
According to the police, drugs and alcohol are not expected to have been factors in the crash. The police say that Aguilera-Mederos failed to slow down as he approached backed-up traffic from another accident, but the reason for that failure is currently unknown.
Aguilera-Mederos lost control of his vehicle and crashed into several cars at around 4:50 p.m. on Thursday. Several gas tanks were ruptured, leading to explosions and huge fires that could be seen for miles.
There were 24 cars and 4 semi-trucks involved in the crash. Out of the 10 people hospitalized with injuries, all but one has been released.
Aguilera-Mederos has his first court date scheduled for Sunday, April 28.
Attorney contributor Dan Lipman represents people who have been injured in serious auto accidents and the families of fatal accident victims in civil lawsuits. Here is some information from Dan regarding the legal options for these victims and families in crashes involving commercial trucks:
When someone is seriously injured in a traffic accident caused by the negligence of someone else, that injured person may take legal action by filing a personal injury lawsuit. In cases of fatal accidents, the families of those killed may have a case for a wrongful death lawsuit. In crashes involving commercial vehicles, these victims often have a better chance of recovering the financial compensation they deserve because in many cases, the driver's employer can be held liable.
Semi-truck drivers and the companies who employ them are required to follow specific state and federal regulations. Examples include daily time limits for hours on the road, abstaining from drug and alcohol use, and making sure the vehicle is properly maintained and in safe working condition. When a failure to follow these regulations leads to an accident with injuries or deaths, the company could potentially be held liable if the victims and their families file lawsuits.
Commercial truck drivers also have higher minimum insurance policy limits, which means that settlements for these types of crashes are often higher than those involving personal vehicles.
Each truck accident case is unique. If you or someone you love has been injured or killed in a crash involving a commercial truck, you can better understand your legal options by discussing your case with an experienced truck accident lawyer.