Posted On: November 6, 2009 by Steven J. Malman

Tragic Truck Crash May Have Been Caused by Vehicle Defects and Poor Maintenance

Last week, truck driver Kyle Wentland was charged with negligent homicide with a commercial vehicle and failure to keep right on a curve over his involvement in the tragic April 3 truck crash that claimed the life of a 33-year-old woman. Wentland, 26, faces up to six months in jail and an up to $2,000 fine. The family of the victim, Heather Gunther, is suing Wentland for her wrongful death. The truck accident victim died of massive traumatic injuries.

According to police, Wentland and Gunther were driving their vehicles at speeds of over 50 mph on a slick road when Wentland’s tractor-trailer crossed the center line to strike Gunther’s sport utility vehicle.

Wentland has told police that he inspected the large truck before getting on the road that morning, but a State DMV inspector says the truck’s brakes were out of adjustment—which is grounds for grounding a truck. Court documents indicate that one of the truck’s tires was unsafe. In addition to faulty breaks, there was oil leaking on a brake line. On investigator says the vehicle shouldn’t have even been on the road.

One witness who saw the tragic tractor-trailer crash says it appeared as if the truck had blown a tire and its brakes were locked up. Another motorist says that when Wentland’s truck hit Gunther’s sport utility vehicle, the SUV’s back end rose about six feet.

According to Federal and state transportation records, the tractor-trailer isn’t the only vehicle belonging to Sysco Food Services that has been cited as unsafe in the last two years. In August 2007, a Sysco truck with a broken steering component crossed a ditch. In January 2008, a Sysco truck received a citation for a broken tail light. In November 2008, a Sysco’s truck latch was found to be improperly secured. Last month, a truck and a trailer had low tire pressure.

Records show trucking company in fatal Winsted crash had other unsafe trucks, Republican American, November 4, 2009

Man charged with negligent homicide in fatal accident, The Register Citizen, October 27, 2009

Related Web Resources:

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

If you believe you were injured in a Chicago truck crash because the truck was defective or poorly maintained, you may have grounds for an Illinois injury lawsuit.

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