Our wrongful death lawyers recently learned that a runaway truck trailer crashed into a minivan last Wednesday and killed seven individuals in the vehicle. Whig.com reports that the out of state accident occurred when a 24-year old truck driver’s trailer was hauling crushed cars when it broke free of the rig that was pulling them. The trailer cut across a two-lane road and slammed into the minivan just seconds later. The minivan was hit in rural Cortland County south of Syracuse, according to the report.
The driver of the minivan was heading home with friends and children in the vehicle when he was killed. Also killed in the accident were his 21-year old fiancé, a 26-year old woman with her two 4 and 5-year old daughters, and two additional children at the ages of 4 and 7. An eighth individual was taken to a nearby hospital with moderate injuries. According to the driver’s mother, “there was zero time to make a maneuver.”
The sheriff’s office released that investigators determined the cause of the accident to be mechanical failure. Tractors and trailers are commonly connected by a “fifth wheel” in which a pin on the trailer fits into the center of a piece of metal on the trailer and is secured by an automatic locking device. Authorities say that this truck part that was specifically used to securely lock the connection between the tractor and the trailer had failed. It is still being determined exactly why this happened. The truck was owned and operated by Newton Salvage of Georgetown.