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John Bisnar
John Bisnar
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No Criminal Charges in Fatal Truck Accident

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Truck accident takes eight lives.

We underestimate the power of distraction. The gadgets that we feel compelled to carry around with us – the mobile phones, iPhones, BlackBerries and Palm Pilots — can cost lives if we are not conscience of when we use them.

Take for instance this truck driver who tried to recharge his cell phone as he was driving on an Indiana toll road. He rammed right into stopped traffic, killing eight people, according to an news report posted on MSNBC’s. But Elkhart County prosecutors have decided not to slap criminal charges on 32-year-old Leonardo Cooksey, although they have no doubts that he was negligent in his actions.

“Inadvertence alone, while an indication of negligent conduct, does not rise to the level of criminal liability, notwithstanding a catastrophic result,” Prosecutor Curtis T. Hill Jr. told reporters. Cooksey, an Illinois resident, was traveling 62 mph in a 65 mph zone at the time of the crash. Investigators determined that Cooksey was not under the influence of alcohol or drugs and had been on the road for less than three hours before the accident happened. State investigators also found that he tried to apply the brakes before he rammed into traffic, which was snarled on the toll road because of another crash that had occurred hours earlier near a construction site, the article said.

Two vehicles were crushed beyond recognition after the crash. Five out of six people in a pickup truck that was struck died. Two others in a Jeep Cherokee were also killed as was the driver of another pickup truck that went off the road. Victims’ family members are understandably angry at the outcome of the case. Cooksey’s truck was registered to New England Motor Freight of Elizabeth, N.J., the news report said.

As I write this a combination of sadness, despair and anger comes over me. This is another one of those situations that no one can fix. It isn’t a broken arm that a skilled doctor can repair and the body will heal. It isn’t simply a totaled car that can be replaced. It is mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers and children that have been lost. There is no adequate way to fix the problems, replace what has been lost or compensate the victims.

Without our system of laws and judicial system, I could see the families of the victims lynching the driver. No, I am not advocating such barbaric actions. It’s just something has to be done to hold this driver, Leonardo Cooksey, and his employer, New England Motor Freight of Elizabeth, N.J., accountable for the harm they have inflicted. How can a professional truck driver allow himself to get distracted when he’s driving a humongous vehicle and then strike and kill eight people? Certainly our justice system will hold him accountable? Based upon this news story, it sounds like there will be no criminal charges…..that makes me angry and I don’t even know these people.

There are many skilled and caring personal injury attorneys that the families will be able to turn to for guidance, representation and to hold the responsible parties accountable. At least the driver was on the job and driving a commercial vehicle, which means that their should be enough insurance and assets to at least partially compensate the victims financially. If this accident had been caused by a non-commercial vehicle, the families of these accident victims most likely would not have any chance at significant compensation. Generally, non-commercial vehicles do not care enough insurance to adequately compensate victims in a situation like this. We see it every day.

If I had been contacted by the family members of the people killed in this incident, one of the first things I would do would be to check out the company that owned the truck, New England Motor Freight of Elizabeth, N.J. I would at least have some good news for the families of the victims. The company certainly appears to be big enough to have enough assets to fairly compensate all of the victims and pay for all the damages caused by their negligent driver. See their website at http://www.nemf.com.

As personal injury attorneys, we see how injuries devastate families and lives, every day. We know the pain and suffering our clients go through, the shattered lives and the lost dreams. We’re honored to be able to do what we can and use our knowledge and expertise to help put our clients’ lives back together, while enduring the constant attacks by “tort deformers” and politicians trying to protect wrongdoers from being held accountable by attacking our work, our profession, our laws and our justice system.

The best personal injury lawyers will provide a free, confidential consultation to anyone who has been injured or lost a family member. Do not hesitate to call on us or any personal injury expert law firm across the country for assistance after an accident. Although survivors are dealing with a lot, getting a legal team on board early can make a huge difference in the end.

The New England Motor Freight of Elizabeth, N.J. already has their attorneys and investigators working this accident. They are doing whatever they can to protect themselves. If you were injured in this accident or lost a loved one to it, get a free consultation with an expert personal injury firm immediately. Our prayers and our hearts go out to the victims, all of them.

For more information on this subject, please refer to our section on Tractor-Trailer Accidents.