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Second grade teacher killed in "freak accident"?

She had spent the past six years teaching first graders. This year, she was teaching second graders their ABCs.

Her life came to an untimely end a week ago far from Wisconsin when a piece of a dump truck fell off, ricocheted off an interstate highway and hit her windshield at 100 mph or more, police said.

The fatal North Carolina crash has been labeled by media outlets there as "a freak accident." While the tragedy was certainly a statistical rarity, it's not entirely clear that it was really an accident. It might well be more carefully considered a wrongful death.

Truckers and trucking companies are required to keep careful records of repairs to commercial vehicles such as tractor trailers, vehicle defects, miles logged and so on. Many people might well consider the loss of the 27-year-old teacher's life to have been a preventable tragedy.

Law enforcement officers have so far been unable to track down the truck or the driver, but when they do, they will undoubtedly examine the truck's suspension. It's believed a part of the suspension, a leaf spring, came loose and went airborne before crashing into the teacher's car.

Investigators should look the case over carefully. Was the truck well-maintained? Had its owner been urged to replace the leaf springs? Were there obvious signs of dangerous wear and tear?

Those are all questions that should be answered before the fatal wreck is dismissed as a "freak accident."

If there's negligence on the part of the truck's owners, the victim's family could be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, funeral expenses, loss of anticipate income, loss of companionship and pain and suffering.

Source: WCNC: "Truck spring struck teacher's windshield in deadly accident" by Greg Argos: Sept. 7, 2011

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