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T-Bone Truck Accident Cuts Car in Half

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Santa Ana, CAA one-ton mining pick-up truck that failed to stop at a stop sign crashed into a two-door Ford Escort, forever altering the life of the father and son inside. And although it happened in August of 2006, the lingering after-effects of the truck accident are still tearing this family apart.

Art was driving his Ford Escort to work around 10 a.m. on a sunny Tuesday. His seven-year-old son was seat belted in the front passenger's seat. As Art cruised along the four-lane highway doing 55 m.p.h., a one-ton extended cab pick-up truck, the biggest pick-up truck you can buy, he said, ran the stop sign on the on-ramp and came barreling toward the small car.

Accident"He never even saw me until he went through the stop sign," said Art, who had jammed on the brakes when he saw that catastrophe was heading his way. The truck hit the Escort with such force, it scissored the car in half, knocking the front end right off.

Art's son had his neck cut from the force of the seatbelt but worse; the young boy watched as his dad, seriously injured, get out of the car and fall to the pavement.

"When I got out of the car, I fell to the ground because I couldn't walk. He thought I was dying so he got really upset," said Art.

Art suffered neck injuries, back injuries, damage to his left kneecap, dislocated shoulder and kneecap, left wrist sprain and a concussion when his head hit the metal post near the door, twice.

"When he hit me, I lost control," he said. "He lost his rear wheel and started fishtailing and we hit each other again. The whole front and side of his truck was smashed. The front end of my car got knocked off. It actually came off and kept going."

Art was off work for five months and was variously in a cast, on crutches, and on painkillers. His joints started to swell as a side effect of the painkillers he was taking. He is still in incredible pain, even today, and continues to take painkillers.

Previously he worked doing heavy truck repairs but he was physically unable to continue in that line of work. Now he does paralegal research work. His income is cut in half and his wife, who had been a stay-at-home mom, was forced to find work to help meet the family's expenses. This created tremendous strain on the family and on her emotionally.

His wife suffered from high-blood pressure and diabetes and has been having tremendous difficulty coping with increased work demands, decreased family income and watching a husband still in constant pain.

Last week, Art's wife tried to commit suicide, driving her vehicle into 20-inch round pole. At the time of writing this story, she remains in a psychiatric ward suffering from severe depression and suicidal tendencies.

Meanwhile, at home, Art continues to go to physical therapy three times a week, and is seeing a surgeon to fix the changes in his cornea causes by glass being embedded in his eye when the truck crashed into him.

"My son and me are struggling," he said. The truck's insurance company hasn't paid a penny, claiming his costs and treatment are excessive, he said. The truck's insurer went as far as to say Art should have been fully recovered within the first week.

What makes it even worse is that the driver of the truck that caused the accident, a 77-year-old man, admitted that he didn't stop for the stop sign as he was expecting to see a stop light, not a sign. He was traveling at 55 m.p.h. in a 30 m.p.h. zone and said he thought he was still on the freeway.

By the time he realized he should have stopped, it was too late.

"He locked up his brakes after he went through the sign," said Art. "He knew he was in trouble."

Insurance companies need to take responsibility when people are seriously injured as the result of a traffic accident. Art is learning the hard way that when an insurance company fails to accept its responsibilities, everyone suffers. His family is torn apart because the truck driver's insurer decided to do nothing.



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