A truck driver who stopped and parked his tractor-trailer in the fast lane of a freeway far from La Crosse has been charged in a crash that killed a driver who rear-ended the big rig.
The fatal truck accident was the trucker's fault, police said, because he failed to place reflective warning cones around his vehicle.
As a result, he faces a charge of criminally negligent homicide. He and his employer might well face a wrongful death lawsuit in the Bexar County, Texas, incident as well.
The truck driver has had his commercial driver's license for less than a year. He got it on his birthday last August in Florida.
He was driving an 18-wheeler owned by an Omaha, Nebraska, freight management company to Laredo, Texas.
According to the truck driver, 30, he stopped his vehicle on the freeway because he thought he'd sideswiped a car. So he stopped his rig, climbed out, scaled a concrete barrier and was walking in the grassy median when another tractor-trailer slammed into the back of his truck.
Moments later, a pick-up driven by a 49-year-old man collided with the rear-end of that second 18-wheeler.
A passing driver stopped to check on those in the accidents and witnessed the driver of the second big rig draw his last breath, according to a police report.
When police officers arrived on the scene, they saw the driver of the first tractor-trailer belatedly placing reflective markers around his truck.
Police said the trucker had violated a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulation requiring motorists to put reflective markers up as soon as possible "to minimize interference with traffic."
"It's not frequent that we charge individuals with this, but the driver took actions that, in the course of the investigation, were not reasonable actions that an ordinary person would have taken," a police lieutenant told a media outlet.
Source: mysanantonio.com: "Trucker facing rare charge in fatal freeway," March 7, 2012