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Truck Accident Kills Two, Injures Four

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Palm Bay, FLAdvocates of taking the big trucks off the road and putting freight back onto the rails need only point to the carnage that occurs when the unthinkable happens. To wit, a truck accident can cause horrific damage, due to its size and heft, to other vehicles. In most cases, the truck driver walks away unscathed thanks to the veritable tank he is piloting.

But not always. Sometimes semi truck accidents claim the driver too, as was the case recently in Australia when a tanker truck driver lost control of his rig. It slid down an embankment and caught fire. A passersby could see the driver moving in the cab and attempted to rescue the man. However, a subsequent explosion from one of the two tankers carrying diesel fuel and gasoline enveloped the rig in flames from which there could be no escape.

The driver was burned alive.

All too often, however, trucking accidents claim the lives of innocent motorists—as was the case early in the New Year when a fiery crash on Interstate 95 in Florida killed two people and their dog.

The transport truck driver was unhurt—but was deemed responsible for the carnage, according to the initial investigation.

The January 7 edition of Florida Today recounts the tragic circumstances of January 5 when seven people were involved in a crash that occurred at 9:50 pm along southbound I-95 at a closed exit to Malabar Road in Palm Bay.

The exit had been closed for the overnight installation of a new overhead sign. According to reports, the driver of a Ford pickup truck may have been slowing to attempt a late exit onto Malabar Road (subsequently blocked off) when a tractor-trailer slammed into the back of an Infiniti occupied by Todd Olthoff and Marcy Olthoff, both 48, who were killed when their car was pinned beneath the undercarriage of the truck.

The fatal truck accident continued, with the rig striking a Saturn and then the pickup before coming to a stop.

Investigators suggest that there may have been some confusion amongst drivers discovering that the exit had been closed. However, traffic cones had been placed for 1.4 miles prior to the exit, and no fewer than three signs had been erected warning of the exit closure. There was plenty of warning for the drivers involved, including the truck driver.

A spokesperson for the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) said that even while the investigation continues, "the full responsibility of the crash falls on the semi-tractor driver," said Kim Montes, spokeswoman for the FHP. "We're looking at everything involved, but any time you have a change in road conditions, whether it's a pre-planned closure or something sudden, drivers need to be paying attention."

It should be noted that the driver of the semi truck had a record of previous traffic violations, including careless driving and driving with a suspended license. To the latter point, the transport driver's license had been suspended for two years ending in 2007, but was valid at the time of the truck accident.

The truck driver was not seriously hurt. However, besides the two people killed, the occupants of the Saturn were seriously injured. The driver of the pickup, together with one of the construction workers on duty that night, were all taken to the hospital for treatment.

Semi truck accidents have become an increasing concern given the mushrooming number of trucks on the nation's roads, their increasing size and weight, and the decrease in size of the average car. Victims of trucking accidents, or the families of those who do not survive, will often seek the services of truck accident attorneys to help determine if the actions of a truck driver—as it is alleged here—may have contributed to grievous huma

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