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Truck Driver Impaired, Asleep when Fatal Phoenix Crash Occurred

Recent decades have seen an increased focus on the effects of fatigue and tiredness among drivers on American roads and the dangers they pose. While it may surprise many, studies have revealed fatigue to be a danger along the levels of texting while driving. Tired drivers behind the wheel are a danger to themselves and to others on the roads of Phoenix and the rest of the Valley of the Sun, but despite the risks, many drivers admit to operating when they are tired. Some even admit to falling asleep behind the wheel.

These dangerous drivers are even more deadly when they operate a truck because of the large and heavy nature of a truck’s typical load. Often, truck accidents occur in Phoenix and cause disproportionately large injuries to the victims in other vehicles. Accident victims and their family members who are directly affected may be entitled to legal relief through the use of a civil claim for damages due to several Arizona laws that protect victims’ rights, but these cases can be complex, so speaking with a personal injury lawyer may help you understand your options if you have been hurt.

A Wednesday collision involving four vehicles on I-17 in Phoenix is now being blamed on the driver of a semi-truck who allegedly admitted to authorities that he took a muscle relaxant and fell asleep before the impact happened. The truck driver, a 54-year-old male, was arrested and charged with suspicion of second degree murder.

The incident took place on I-17 near Bell Road in the morning hours. Traffic was congested and officials have stated that the truck driver, hauling concrete pavers, rear-ended four vehicles that were stopped in traffic. The semi-truck continued and struck a concrete barrier which caused it to spill much of its load onto the road’s surface. At least one of the vehicles involved in the crash burst into flames, leaving a 22-year-old man dead and another person in critical condition with life-threatening injuries. Three other victims were taken to area hospitals for undisclosed injuries and several other people sustained minor injuries but did not need immediate medical assistance.

Following the impact, officials spoke with the driver of the truck who allegedly admitted that he often became tired while driving in the dark and that he fell asleep behind the wheel before the collision occurred. Further, the driver reportedly stated that he took a muscle relaxant the night before, a fact some officers on the scene said was supported by the fact that the driver had glassy, bloodshot eyes and was slurring his speech. Alcohol is not believed to be a factor at this time.

The fallout from this truck accident will affect the victims and their family members for months or years to come, and in the case of the victim who lost his life, the damage will be permanent and no amount of relief will ever be able to erase the wrongs.

Arizona believes that victims should not have to bear the financial burdens for injuries caused by the actions of another but rather that a responsible, at-fault driver should be held liable. Victims are entitled to seek relief for their damages through a claim that is separate and distinct from any charges brought by local authorities.

The personal injury lawyers at Abels & Annes, P.C. believe in fighting for the rights of those who have been hurt, and if a truck accident has affected your life, we want to help you as well. We offer a free case consultation to those who call us toll free at (855) PHX-LAWYER or locally at (602) 819-5191 and we provide it 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you have been hurt, call us today and let us fight for the relief you deserve.

Prior Blog Entry:

Weekend Car Accident in Chandler Leaves 3 Injured, Phoenix Injury Lawyer Blog, published November 17, 2014.


Phoenix police: Semi driver fell asleep before fatal crash, by Andrew Romanov, The Republic,, published November 20, 2014.

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