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La Crosse company trucker faces jail for fatal truck crash

The truck driver was hauling a load for a La Crosse food service company when he said he took his eyes off of the road for just a few seconds to reach for an energy drink. When he looked back up, traffic ahead of him had stopped for construction and he had no time to halt his vehicle.

On a May morning in 2010, his tractor-trailer slammed at interstate highway speed into the backs of vehicles, killing two women. One of the women was pregnant at the time of the truck accident.

The 18-wheeler was going 68 miles per hour when it hit, causing a chain-reaction wreck that included a truck carrying millions of honeybees; bees that were set loose by the crash and then hampered rescue efforts afterwards.

The Minnesota trucker, 38 years old, was recently sentenced to a year in jail and up to 10 months on probation.

He said he took his eyes off of the road for just six to 10 seconds. The prosecutor said it was more accurately 16 seconds. Either way, it was enough time for the trucker to miss a sign warning drivers that construction was ahead and slowdowns likely and it was enough time for the trucker to miss the traffic ahead of him coming to a stop.

Unfortunately, his truck did not miss a woman, 50, who died at the scene and another woman, 24, who died at a hospital a few hours after the crash. She was two months pregnant at the time.

The husband of one of the dead women said he's never "received an apology or anything" from the La Crosse company.

Earlier reports suggested that wrongful death lawsuits against the company and truck driver were pending.

Source: TwinCities.com, "Lakeville: Trucker gets year in jail for crash that killed 2, set bees free," July 31, 2012

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