Truck Driver in Missouri Charged After Accident Leaves Two Dead
A truck driver is facing two counts of second-degree murder after an accident left two people dead in Marshfield, Missouri. In this tragic accident, the Missouri State Highway Patrol stated that the drivers were sitting in a pickup truck at a red light when they were hit from behind by a semitrailer. The resulting impact pushed the pickup truck into the back of another semi-trailer. Because of the sheer amount of force, the drivers in the pickup truck sustained fatal injuries and died at the scene of the accident.
While these situations are tragic, they are not uncommon. However, in this accident, the driver of the semi-truck was charged with a criminal charge of second -degree murder.
If you have been in an accident with a large truck or another commercial vehicle. Call us today. To schedule a private, no cost evaluation, call truck accident attorney of Reiff Law Firm’s The Truck Accident Team at (215) 246-9000 or contact us online. If the statute of limitations expires, your window of legal opportunity will close and you won’t be able to pursue a claim. So contact us today to see how we can make our experience work for you.
Criminal Charges in an Accident
This accident brings up an interesting intersection of the law – that is the intersection between civil law and criminal law in the context of a car or truck accident. Most car accidents are handled in the civil courts wherein it is one person who is filing suit against another person. However, in this accident, the driver was charged with second-degree murder.
In Missouri, second degree murder is one of the most serious homicide and criminal offenses that you can be charged with. In order to prove that the defendant committed second-degree murder, the prosecutor on behalf of the state must show beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant killed an individual without lawful justification for their actions. Specifically, Missouri Revised Statutes Section 565.021 states:
- A person commits murder in the second degree if he or she does any of the following:
- Knowingly causes the death of another person (note that the “after deliberation” requirement of first degree murder is missing here)
- Purposely causes serious physical injuries to a person which causes his or her death
- Commits or attempts to commit any felony and a person is killed during the felony or the flight from the felony (also known as “felony murder”)
While it is true that most car and truck accidents are handled by the civil courts, this accident is an example when the conduct is so severe that it leads to more serious criminal charges being filed.
Other Charges that may be Criminal
While this accident may be an extreme example of an accident that is being handled by the criminal system, there are numerous other accident types that may be civil or if the accident is egregious enough, may be considered to be criminal.
- Hit and Run – when a driver accidentally hits another vehicle or pedestrian, the driver is required to stop their vehicle at the scene. This is true even if this is a minor accident. Generally, drivers are expected to share names, contact information, and insurance information. However, when a driver strikes another vehicle or pedestrian and does not stop, this may result in criminal charges being filed.
- DUI / DWI/ DWAI – Regardless of the state, it is illegal for a driver to operate their vehicle in a state of intoxication, which is defined as having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher. If they operate their vehicle and are subsequently in an accident, which results in injury or death, they may be charged criminally.
There are many other traffic offenses that can rise to a criminal offense when the actions are severe enough. However, when a person dies as a result of their injuries a family may be able to file an action against the other driver in civil court that are separate from criminal court proceedings.
In Missouri as many, if not all of the states, a family member who has lost a loved one because of another’s negligence can file a wrongful death claim. Specifically, Section 537.080. 1 of the Missouri Revised Statutes provides:
Whenever the death of a person results from any act, conduct, occurrence, transaction, or circumstance, which, if death had not ensued, would have entitled such person to recover damages in respect thereof, the person or party who, or the corporation which, would have been liable if death had not ensued shall be liable in an action for damages.
Speak With an Experienced Commercial Truck Accident Lawyer Today
Unfortunately, these accident types are all too common when there is a commercial vehicle involved. If you have been involved in an accident with a large truck, or have lost a loved one because of a semi-truck, then you need a team of experienced attorneys at your side. To schedule a private, no-cost evaluation, call Reiff Law Firm’s The Truck Accident Team at (215) 246-9000 or contact us online. If the statute of limitations expires, your window of legal opportunity will close and you won’t be able to pursue a claim. So contact us today to see how we can make our experience work for you.