Two people were killed in an early morning crash in April that began when a truck driver lost control of his rig and it overturned, blocking the highway. In moments, a van and a second rig had crashed into the first truck’s trailer and the two victims were dead, including a well-known competitive bicyclist.
Shortly after midnight on April 5 a semi traveling east on I-70 not far from the Colorado border began to drift off the road, according to the Utah Highway Patrol. The driver overcorrected, which caused the semi to tip, leaving its trailer on its side and fully blocking the eastbound lanes. That driver escaped injury.
However, moments later a van carrying a driver and a single passenger crashed through the semi’s trailer at a high speed before stopping. Neither of the van’s occupants was seriously injured at that time, and they left the vehicle to inspect the scene. Unfortunately, a second semi then came through the hole the van had made through the trailer and struck the rear of the van. That truck continued onto the median where it jackknifed. The driver of the second semi was killed in the crash, as was the van’s driver, who was hit either by the semi or by the van after it was struck.
The van’s driver was Steve Tilford, age fifty-nine, a competitive cyclist and winner of the first US National Mountain Biking Championship in 1983. He captured numerous national and international cycling titles in his career and was inducted into the Mountain Biking Hall of Fame in 2000. The cycling world has been flooded with heartfelt remembrances since the accident.
Sometimes finding fault in a crash that causes injury or death is straightforward. The crash might only involve one driver who clearly took a reckless action, such as a drunk driver who drives across someone’s lawn and strikes a house. But there are many cases where the responsibility—or the apportionment of responsibility—is not so simple.
In this I-70 crash, there are a lot of elements that will need to be explored and understood by any parties who choose to make a personal injury claim against anyone involved. An obvious target for any civil action would be the driver of the first semi, since that crash led to the others: Was he speeding or behaving recklessly? But what about the second semi driver, whose vehicle physically struck one victim: Was he driving too fast to avoid the first truck’s trailer? Was the van’s crash into the trailer unavoidable, or could it have been averted?
There are questions that go deeper. Was the first driver trained properly to avoid this kind of crash? Was the vehicle in good working order, or did lax maintenance contribute? They haven’t been mentioned, but in some crashes, weather conditions or the road’s design and maintenance come into play. Did they matter here?
We don’t know the answers to any of these questions. But that’s what we do. As experienced Salt Lake City auto accident attorneys, we ask the questions that need to be answered to help our clients’ cases, and then we seek out the answers.
If you or someone close to you has been harmed in a car crash, call Craig Swapp & Associates at 1-800-404-9000 today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case. You can also reach us online through the form below or launch the LiveChat feature from any page of this website to start the discussion immediately.