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Driver in Truck Accident Going to Jail

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Miami, FLThe driver accused of causing a truck accident that took the lives of 4 people almost 4 years ago has been sentenced to 36 years in prison. The driver was convicted of 4 counts of vehicular manslaughter for his role in an truck crash that occurred on February 11, 2005.

ConvictionAccording to the Miami Herald, the driver, Flavio Santisteban, had been driving a gas tanker containing more than 9,000 gallons of fuel when the accident occurred. The truck went out of control when the driver tried to merge onto the on-ramp to Florida's Turnpike. It then flipped over, landing on a station wagon, and exploded.

Relatives of the victims filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Santisteban, alleging he was overtired from working too many hours and not taking proper breaks. Furthermore, prosecutors accused the driver of driving recklessly—he was driving up to 60 mph in a 35 mph zone and cut other drivers off. He had also received at least 10 citations for driving violations prior to this accident.

More recently, the family of a man who died in a fiery crash with a tractor trailer has filed a lawsuit against the driver of the truck involved in the crash. The accident occurred in December 2008, and resulted in 2 deaths. The victim, Juan Luis Lopez, died after an oncoming truck lost control, crossed a median and caused the accident.

The lawsuit against the driver alleges he did not apply the brakes in a timely manner, drove too fast for the conditions and did not control his vehicle. The suit seeks damages for pain and suffering as well as burial expenses. A lawsuit against Land Line Express alleges the company breached a duty designed to protect other drivers from injuries and death.

The victim was father to 3 children. According to the family's attorney, "…this is one of the most severe and most tragic [personal injury cases]. Burn cases are extremely tragic and extremely painful." So far, no lawsuit has been filed on behalf of the other victim involved in the accident.

In a different lawsuit, a woman was awarded $2.5 million in a settlement reached less than 2 years after her son was killed in an accident with a tractor trailer. The woman and her son were driving next to the truck when it suddenly jackknifed and hit her vehicle. The boy's neck was broken in the accident, killing him instantly. The woman suffered serious injuries in the accident.

If a trucking accident is caused by the negligence of a truck driver or a trucking company, victims may be able to sue the responsible party—or parties—for their actions. This can include a trucking company encouraging drivers to drive overtime, not take proper breaks or drive while overtired. It can also include trucking companies hiring drivers with improper licenses or with poor driving records. Negligence can even include not properly maintaining a tractor trailer and not properly filling out hours of service logs.


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