A semitrailer is not supposed to back out onto a road trailer-first. The reason for this is clear. The semi driver can’t see if a vehicle is coming, and anyone traveling on the road is at risk if severe injury or wrongful death if their vehicle hits the trailer. If there is no other option than backing up trailer-first, every possible safety measure should be use to prevent an accident. Possible safety measures include putting out warning devices and employing a crew to direct traffic. The measures needed depends on the situation.
It appears nothing was done to prevent a tragic wrongful death in Monticello Township, Minnesota, on October 12, 2017. The driver of a pickup died when he hit the trailer of a semitrailer that was backing out of a driveway.
According to the Wright County Sheriff’s Office, the semi-tractor with an attached trailer was backing out of a residential driveway onto County Road 39 NE. As the trailer was on County Road 39, a Ford pickup, traveling eastbound on County Road 39, hit the trailer, as did another vehicle. Tragically, the driver of the pickup, Robert J. Olsen, from Monticello, died at the scene. He had been married to his wife for 44 years.
The driver of the semi-tractor was transported to Monticello Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
The accident happened at about 5:25 a.m. on October 12, 2017.
— Star Tribune (@StarTribune) October 15, 2017
The Wright County Sheriff’s Office, with assistance from the Minnesota State Patrol Commercial Vehicle Inspector, is investigating the accident.
Funeral services are scheduled for Thursday, October 19, at 11:00 a.m. at St. Henry’s Catholic Church.
“The law requires semitrailers to enter the roadway in a safe manner. When that does not happen, the family members who lost a loved one deserve answers as to why that did not happen.”
Attorney Eric Hageman
Trailer Illegally Blocking Roadway
The investigation of this case is still underway. In cases like this one of the main issues is whether the trailer was illegally blocking the roadway.
This case is similar to one our law firm handled for the family of a teenager who ran into a semitrailer that was blocking a snowmobile trail. In that case, the back part of the trailer was positioned just over the trail. A young man driving a snowmobile did not see the trailer, ran into it, and died at the scene. It was an unimaginable tragedy for the family.
“The family wanted us to do an independent investigation to find out why the trailer was there. The family used the money we obtained for them to establish a scholarship in the name of their child.”
Drivers of big rigs have additional responsibilities under the law. They have to take extra care when backing up to make sure no one is harmed. If a driver blindly backs up onto a roadway, that is not careful driving.
When someone is harmed because of careless driving, the driver and trucking company are legally responsible.
Another Fatal Accident in Minnesota
This accident is somewhat similar to another one that happened earlier in the week.
An ambulance was traveling on Interstate 694 in Brooklyn Center. The driver and her passenger, a paramedic, were both in their twenties. As they attempted to change lanes to get onto I-94, they ran into a semi truck that was stalled on the shoulder. The semi had been sitting on the shoulder for about 15 minutes, plenty of time to put out warning devices. A tow truck was already there, and it is yet unknown why the semi had not been moved further from the roadway.
The passenger in the ambulance, a paramedic for Healtheast, was fatally injured. The driver was seriously injured and transported to the hospital.
Legal Help When a Stopped Semitrailer Causes Injury or Wrongful Death
We have helped many families who lost loved ones in crashes involving commercial trucks. In every wrongful death case, our clients want answers and to have us take any steps possible to prevent similar accidents. Our cases have resulted in multimillion-dollar recoveries, changes in the law and new traffic signs in high-traffic locations.