Following an investigation into a fatal 2018 accident on Interstate 94 in Minnesota, a big rig driver is facing criminal vehicular homicide charges. A criminal complaint alleges that the trucker was distracted when he traveled through a construction zone. An accident resulted that claimed the life of one worker and caused injuries to another.
The accused man is a 47-year-old semi-truck driver who also allegedly exceeded the posted speed limit in the construction zone. Authorities say he was driving at approximately 72 mph when he smashed into the rear of a trailer that was attached to a pickup truck. The impact caused the trailer to separate from the pickup, slamming into a 59-year-old construction worker on site. This worker died at the crash scene, and a second worker needed medical care for injuries caused by debris from the crash.
Investigators obtained the trucker’s cellphone and recovered 14 video files that the driver allegedly deleted after the accident occurred. It was determined that these were pornographic videos, one of which was opened by the driver fewer than two minutes before he rear-ended the trailer. Reportedly, the truck operator denied exceeding the speed limit and also using his cellphone at the time of the accident.
The surviving family members of the worker who died after being struck in the construction zone will likely be eligible for death benefits from the Minnesota workers’ compensation insurance system. However, an experienced workers’ compensation attorney can determine whether they also have grounds to file a third-party wrongful death civil lawsuit. If this is the case, such a claim can be filed against the truck driver and his employer or any other owner of the semi-truck. A workers’ compensation benefits claim can be submitted at the same time.