The vast majority of traffic accidents are minor, with smaller amounts of damages and less serious injuries. However, every once in a while, there is an accident that garners national attention because of its size and/or severity. These accidents can involve hundreds of vehicles and cause multiple injuries and, in some cases, death.
From a legal perspective, these cases are very difficult for everyone involved because of the number of vehicles involved, the number of people and injuries involved, the amount of physical and property damage, and the confusion of assigning fault for the accident.
The U.S. has had its share of spectacularly bad accidents involving trucks. They often take the form of chain-reactions collisions, each causing the one behind it. Big trucks are commonly involved because they take longer to stop, are harder to control on slippery surfaces, and occupy plenty of space across the highway, making it difficult for following cars to maneuver around.
On the other hand, some truck-related crashes are notable simply because of their particular tragic circumstances. If you have been involved in a truck accident of any size in Florida, a Florida truck accident lawyer at Searcy Denney can help.
What Are the Most Tragic Truck Accidents in U.S. History?
Some of the most tragic truck accidents in the U.S. include:
On Birmingham’s I-59, a truck accident killed a local fire chief and seriously injured his daughter. An 18-wheeler unexpectedly crossed the median, hitting two vehicles, including the SUV of the fire chief. The collision broke off the vehicle’s top, killed the 54-year old fire chief, and left his 26-year old daughter seriously injured.
A driver from Georgia driving a truck to New York crashed into a median and sliced through the cable barrier, causing a head-on collision with another truck on the southbound lane near Blacksburg, South Carolina. The crash ignited a huge fire that burned the Georgia driver beyond identification, requiring dental records to identify the body.
Two sisters were killed in an impact with two trucks. Traveling with their parents heading for Texas, the fatal accident occurred when a truck sideswiped their car, which sent the car off into a spin, then struck again, pushing the spinning car under another truck. The other truck’s underride guard collapsed, which led to the death of the two teen sisters.
The worst truck accident in Montana history happened when a school bus collided with a fuel tanker truck during a snowstorm in January. The bus passengers included the high school wrestling team returning from a meet when a double tanker truck jumped from the opposite side of the highway and came down right in front of the bus. A huge fireball resulted from the accident that surrounded the bus. Nine people on the bus, including the coach, his wife, and child, were mortally wounded, while 19 others suffered serious to minor injuries.
In 1976, a truck carrying 7,500 gallons of ammonia lost control in the Houston freeway. It crashed through the guardrail and jack-knifed off a ramp onto a crowded highway below. The accident killed five people and injured 180 others, most of whom became trapped in a cloud of poisonous gas. The speeding truck driver was held to have caused the accident.
What Are the Biggest Pile-Ups Involving Trucks in U.S. History?
Most of the monumental pile-ups involve both trucks and other types of automobiles. Some of the worst include:
The largest multi-car wreck in the U.S. occurred approximately 25 miles south of Los Angeles, California on Interstate 10 on November 3, 2002. 216 vehicles were involved, causing 41 injuries.
Fortunately, no deaths were reported. In the middle of morning rush hour, a semi-truck that was traveling on the Interstate crashed into the center divider, which started the long chain reaction on both sides of the interstate. Fog is believed to be the leading cause for the series of wrecks.
Due to the accident, authorities closed a two-mile stretch of highway until late in the afternoon so that emergency services could render aid to the injured and begin cleaning up the massive amount of wreckage.
One of the worst multiple-vehicle accidents to occur in the history of the U.S. took place on March 20, 1995, on Interstate 10 near Mobile, Alabama.
In all, 200 vehicles were involved in the accident, resulting in 90 injured people and one death. The cause of the pile-up was the fact that the Interstate runs along a bridge over Mobile Bay, causing a thick fog that rose from the Bay below.
An accident on Interstate 96 in Michigan started with an SUV and about 10 other vehicles, including a semi-truck. From there, cars began piling up on both sides of the Interstate, involving approximately 114 vehicles on the eastbound side and 86 on the westbound side. Fatalities included a 14-year-old boy who was riding in the SUV that was involved in the initial crash and a man who rear-ended a tractor-trailer late during the accident. The cause again was a thick fog that resulted in less than a quarter-mile of visibility for drivers.
An unlikely series of events caused this 193-vehicle pileup on I-94 near Galesburg, Michigan that caused 23 injuries and one death. The crash began just before 10:00 a.m. on the eastbound lanes but quickly spread to both sides of the interstate.
After the initial pile-up, one of the tractor-trailers that had caught fire was discovered to be carrying fireworks, resulting in multiple explosions. Another semi-truck involved was carrying acid, which began leaking onto the surrounding area, causing other hazardous conditions. These incidents led police to release a statement asking anyone who lived within one mile of the scene to stay in their homes until the accident could be cleared, which took about 12 hours.
Fort Worth, Texas
As recently as February 11, 2021, at least six people died and dozens more were injured in a massive pileup involving at least 133 vehicles on the North Texas Express toll lanes in Fort Worth. The cause appeared to be overnight sleet. All southbound lanes of Interstate 35W north of downtown remained closed through the day and overnight as dozens of firefighters and other first responders continued to work in freezing temperatures to clear the damaged vehicles from the highway.
A Florida Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help if You Have Been Involved in a Truck Crash
Fortunately, most truck accidents are not nearly as tragic or monumental as the accidents described above. Nonetheless, if you have suffered injuries resulting from a truck accident, contact a Florida truck accident lawyer at Searcy Denney for help. We offer a free consultation and work on a contingency fee basis.