A tractor-trailer accident in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, killed two people Thursday morning, April 16, 2015.
Niculae Sandulescue, 84 years old, was driving a Mitsubishi Mirage on the Sawgrass Expressway in Broward County, with Paraschiva Sandulescu, 79 years old, as a passenger. The tractor-trailer hit them from behind, and then crushed the small vehicle under the trailer.
Deadly Trucking Accident Claims Two Lives
According to a report by the local news, the semi truck and the car were traveling northbound when the truck struck the right rear corner of the Mitsubishi. The truck apparently lost control and veered to the right, which caused it to overturn.
The trailer came down on top of the Mitsubishi, crushing it, and then everything burst into flames, preventing rescuers from reaching the Romanian couple in the car, and leaving firefighters with a stubborn fire. The northbound lanes of the highway were shutdown for hours. The flames were so intense that road crews were sent in to re-pave a portion of the highway afterwards.
The truck driver was identified as Nelson Castro, 50 years old. He was also taken to the hospital with serious injuries. He told CBS News that the Mitsubishi appeared in front of him and he had no time to stop. NBC Miami noted that investigators said it looked like the truck had hit the back of the car while it was traveling at a slow speed on the highway.
So far there has been no word as to whether the truck driver was speeding. The crash remains under investigation.
Big Truck Fuel Tank Explosions Devastating to Human Tissue
This is a sad case of a fuel tank exploding on a big truck. Had the fire not occurred, it may have been possible for rescue crews to extract the couple from the Mitsubishi.
A truck gas tank can burst into flames during a collision, particularly if it is penetrated in the crash, if the fuel comes into contact with the battery spark, if there is some mechanical problem, or if there is a defect in the tank. The resulting fires are extremely hot and devastating to human tissue.
If it’s discovered that the truck driver was speeding at the time of the crash, he and the company he works for may be held liable for negligence, should the family pursue litigation.
Semi Trucks Need Lots of Room to Stop
In this case, it may have been that the drivers of the Mitsubishi were to blame for the crash. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), per mile traveled, “fatal crash rates increase noticeably starting at age 70-74 and are highest among drivers 85 and older.” They note that in 2013, a total of 4,115 people aged 70 and older died in motor vehicle crashes, though older drivers have low rates of police-reported crash involvements per capita.
Semi trucks, because of their size, require much more road space to come to a stop than passenger cars do. “A big rig takes roughly three times farther to stop than a car,” writes Mac Demere in Popular Mechanics. “”If you pull in front of a truck, give it plenty of room and at least match the truck’s pace.”
The accident is a tragedy for family and friends. NBC noted that one neighbor commented on the devastating nature of the fiery crash, and stated, “They’re great people.”
Exclusively focused on representing plaintiffs, especially in mass tort litigation, Eric Chaffin prides himself on providing unsurpassed professional legal services in pursuit of the specific goals of his clients and their families. Both his work and his cases have been featured in the national press, including on ABC’s Good Morning America.