Improper Large Truck Loading Causes Death of Commercial Truck Driver

A Nevada family lost its loved family member, Gregory, when a tractor-trailer rig lost its cargo of hay bales on Highway 58 here in Oregon. Gregory was a commercial truck driver. The hay bales from an oncoming truck crashed into the cab of Gregory’s truck and killed him. What’s worse, the tractor-trailer should have never been on the road in the first place. The other rig had been placed out of service three days earlier because of multiple safety violations, and was being operated by an unqualified driver.

A Complete Disregard for Safety

It all started when one business had another company deliver hay to a location roughly 150 miles away. The driver chosen for the job was neither licensed nor qualified to operate the tractor-trailer rig. The truck he was assigned to drive was not fit for operation, either. Officers of the Washington State Police had ordered the truck to be placed out of service due to multiple safety violations.

However, the businesses disregarded these violations as they loaded more hay bales onto the rig than it could withstand, exceeding the weight limit by 20,000 pounds. These hay bales were not properly secured, and the tractor-trailer was sent on its way.

In the lawsuit, the evidence showed that the businesses were negligent in their actions, including:

    • Choosing to operate a truck that was subject to a recent Out-of-Service order without properly addressing the reasons for the order, which deemed the vehicle unsafe.
    • Choosing to operate a truck with a loose, unsecured payload that exceeded the permitted weight limit.
    • Choosing a driver who did not have a commercial license and did not have the necessary qualifications to operate the truck.
  • The case was settled after two days of judicial settlement conferences for $869,000.00.