A woman, Kristen Kay Taylor, 25 years-old of Salt Lake County, is dead following a fatal accident involving a semi-truck on March 10, 2010. According to the Salt Lake Tribune, an accident with another semi had just occurred near mile marker 35 (just north of Pintura, Utah) on the I-15, causing traffic to back up in the southbound lanes. Kristen Taylor was driving a Kia Spectra at the time with her fiancé Gregory Bennin when she stopped for the backed-up traffic. A truck driver driving a Wal-mart semi truck just behind her was unable to stop in time and smashed into the rear of her car, pinning her car under the semi truck in front of her. Another car then crashed into the back of the Wal-Mart truck.
Video Courtesy of KSL.com.
Because of the severity of the crash, Kristen Taylor died at the scene. Her passenger, Gregory Bennin, sustained critical injuries, including a severe injury to his arm that may require amputation. He was taken to Dixie Regional Medical Center. Others involved in the initial crash were also taken to the hospital with minor injuries. It is reported that there was a total of 15 cars involved in this crash. Highway 15 ended up being shut down for several hours.
My heart goes out to the family of Kristen Taylor and her fiancé. From reports, they were on their way to Las Vegas to get married when this tragic crash happened. She even had her wedding dress in the back seat of the car. I also learned that she was expecting at the time of the crash. Such a tragic loss.
In situations like this, we look to see how this crash could have been avoided and what caused it to happen. Based on the news reports, it appears that the Wal Mart truck driver may have been driving at speeds too fast for conditions. We are told that the conditions were snowy on this highway at the time. Under the circumstances, commercial truck drivers are required to slow their speed so that if they have to make a stop, they can do so in a safe manner, without causing injury or property damage to another.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has established rules which govern how these big-rig drivers must drive in hazardous conditions.
“Extreme caution in the operation of a commercial motor vehicle shall be exercised when hazardous conditions, such as those caused by snow, ice, sleet, fog, mist, rain, dust, or smoke, adversely affect visibility or traction.”
The big question is therefore whether the truck driver exercised “extreme caution” as he or she was driving this stretch of the highway. Extreme caution in this circumstance could very well have required the driver to reduce speed and maintain a greater distance between the semi and Taylor’s small passenger car so as to facilitate a stop or evasive action should vehicles slide out or collide in front of the driver.
Another issue is whether the driver was driving while fatigued or was somehow distracted before this crash occurred. Driver’s logs can help show where the driver had been and his sleep history. These logs, however, are kept for only 6 months before they are destroyed. If the driver was texting, cell phone records could also show the text messaging history.
I would recommend that the victims and their family of this tragic semi truck accident act quickly to retain an experienced Utah truck accident attorney to preserve all evidence that could be used in exploring and making a claim against the trucking company.
The Kramer Law Group does not currently represent any of the parties referenced in the blog article above. We have cited and linked to the source of our information. If you were involved in the above incident, or one like it, and have questions about your rights and possible remedies, you may call a reputable Utah personal injury law firm. The information and opinions expressed above are provided as a public service and should not be used in place of legal advice from a qualified Utah personal injury attorney.