Police in Topton, Pennsylvania, say a Daytona Beach, Florida, man left his tractor-trailer unattended on some railroad tracks just moments before it was hit by a freight train. Police arrested the 65-year-old truck driver and charged him with risking and causing a catastrophe, criminal mischief and recklessly endangering another person.
It is unclear exactly whether the defendant knew he had parked his 18-wheeler on the railroad tracks, but police in Topton say he had stopped to ask for directions in the eastern Pennsylvania town.
The May 28 accident resulted in the defendant’s semi-truck being split in two by the Norfolk Southern Train. The accident is estimated to have caused roughly $35,000 in damage to both the train and some nearby railroad warning lights.
The man is still being held on $50,000 bail, presumably in Berks County, Pennsylvania, where the accident occurred.
Commercial drivers of tractor-trailers are held to high standards by state and federal regulators, because of the massive vehicles they drive and their potential to cause injury in truck accidents. These trucks are several times heavier than other vehicles, so it important that semi-truck drivers are well trained and tested frequently for the presence of illegal substances in their systems. Additionally, truck drivers are also required to take mandatory rest breaks every so often to prevent them from becoming fatigued.
Victims injured by commercial trucks should know whether the driver of the truck that hit them was in full compliance with regulations. It may be possible for victims of a poorly trained, drugged or physically exhausted truck driver to sue to recover their medical costs and lost wages. It is also important to know that the owner of the company for whom the driver works may also be liable if they did not take reasonable care to ensure the driver was being safe.
Source: Miami Herald, “Tractor trailer driver charged in Pa. train crash” No author given, May. 29, 2014