Truck Driver Faces Charges After Flying Tire Accidents
Federal regulations are pretty strict when it comes to the trucking industry. Not only are trucking companies expected to inspect their vehicles prior to departure for a delivery, individual truck drivers are required to perform inspections after every 24 hours of driving. When they don’t, tragedy can strike.
Now, one truck driver is learning this hard way. He is being charged with negligent homicide after two of his tires detached from his vehicle. One of those tires bound over the median and into oncoming traffic where it struck the window of Jennifer Thomas. She was killed instantly. Her son, father, and mother were also in the vehicle at the time and witnessed her death.
The driver, Yurien Bello Chavez, has been charged with negligent homicide in Texas and is also named as a defendant in a recently filed federal lawsuit alleging negligence. The company that Chavez works for, US Xpress Transport is also named as a defendant.
Why Do Flying Tire Accidents Happen?
Flying tire accidents happen when one or more of the tires detaches from the vehicle itself. Tractor-trailer tires are several times heavier than those on your typical commuter vehicle, even the larger ones. These tires can weigh nearly 100 pounds each and when they strike another person or their vehicle, the results tend to be fatal. Flying tires have been known to rip the tops off of SUVs, peeling them back like a can of sardines.
When an accident is caused by some mechanical failure of the vehicle, whether it be a flying tire, a tire blowout, or a brake failure, the individual who owns and is responsible for the vehicle is the first person that’s going to be scrutinized for the accident. In some cases, however, this individual is not responsible for the accident and it was a mechanic who failed to install the tire properly.
Those are, essentially, the only two liable parties in a flying tire accident. If the tire flies off the vehicle and it can be shown that a routine inspection would have prevented the accident, and this routine inspection was not performed, the driver can be charged with negligent homicide if someone dies.
Criminal vs. Civil Cases
The criminal case against the driver takes precedence over the civil case. In other words, it goes first. Texas prosecutors will collect evidence that the driver created a condition that put others on the road in danger. If successful, the plaintiffs will have all the evidence they need to move forward with their civil case since the standard of proof is higher in criminal court than it is in civil court. If the criminal case is not successful, the family can still move forward with their civil case and likely recover a hefty sum (including punitive damages) from the driver and their company.
Talk to a Houston Truck Accident Attorney Today
If you’ve been involved in an accident with a large commercial truck, the Houston truck accident attorneys at Livingston & Flowers can litigate your case and file a claim on your behalf. Talk to us today to schedule a free consultation.