A man whose poor driving killed a Maryland family on their way to California could face up to 20 years' prison time in connection with a deal he struck with prosecutors. The man was accused of motor vehicle homicide for his role in the crash, which resulted in such severe child injury for two youngsters and an unborn child that no one survived in 2012. All of the vehicle's occupants were killed in the collision, including two toddlers and the woman's unborn child. She was 30 weeks pregnant.
The man, an Illinois native who was behind the wheel of a big-rig truck, reportedly rear-ended the two vehicles in which the family was traveling while sitting in stopped traffic on I-80 in Nebraska. The father was following his wife in the family's other vehicle, as the group was moving to the West Coast. That driver appeared to have been asleep at the wheel when he struck the other vehicle. In fact, there is no evidence that he attempted to slow down before the collision occurred. He has agreed to plead guilty to four counts of motor vehicle homicide and a single count of motor vehicle homicide of an unborn fetus. Prosecutors have recommended that the man's sentence be set at a maximum of 20 years.
Further investigation into the matter showed that the driver had been behind the wheel for about 15 hours when he struck the other vehicle. Truck drivers are limited to a certain number of consecutive driving hours. This man was clearly violating all regulations related to those restrictions. Drivers of commercial vehicles are mandated to stop and rest because accidents involving these tractor-trailers can have such dire consequences. In this case, the man may also be found negligent in a civil suit, largely because it has already been determined that he violated existing safety mandates.
nebraskaradionetwork.com, "Trucker who killed Maryland family in fiery crash on I-80 pleads guilty" Brent Martin, Sep. 06, 2013