Butch M. was an experienced driver, former Marine, loving father and husband who drove a 1999 Freightliner FLD-112 day cab for Old Dominion Freight Lines out of their Greensboro, North Carolina facility. Butch was 57 and he and his family lived in nearby High Point. In 1998, he was running the Greensboro/Boston route up and down the I-95 northeast corridor. Butch would stop at O.D.'s facility in Newark, NJ along the way to refuel, bunk overnight if necessary or change loads. Butch was an excellent driver with an outstanding safety record.
On the afternoon of September 14, 1998 on I-95 in New Rochelle, New York Butch died a horrible death in a fiery crash after being sideswiped by a young woman - who had her license for less than a year, was late for work and was driving carelessly. After the other driver came into Butch's lane and hit him, Butch lost control of his rig (which was hauling twin pup trailers) and hit the jersey barriers on both sides of the highway. The impact with the first barrier caused a broken leaf spring to puncture the right fuel tank and spray fuel on the nearby turbocharger and catch fire engulfing the cab in flames before Butch could even bring the rig to a stop. Butch, totally unhurt from the accident itself, climbed out of the burning truck already burnt and on fire and attempted to extinguish the flames by rolling on the pavement. Unfortunately there was also fuel there from the other tank having ruptured and the fire only got worse. Butch died right there in the left lane of northbound I-95 while people watched unable to help.
Butch's tractor had two 100 gallon .125 gauge aluminum fuel tanks mounted side-saddle and forward on the chassis less than 3 inches away from the rear end of leaf springs that were not military wrapped and less than 20 inches away from the red hot turbocharger. The New York State Police determined that leaking diesel fuel from the ruptured right fuel tank was the cause of the fire. There was very little left of the tractor by the time the fire was put out. You can still see the physical evidence of Butch's accident and where he died when you drive that stretch of interstate.
On behalf of Butch's wife and kids, we sued Freightliner and the driver of the other car. After several years of intensive litigation (we took over 60 depositions in this case and spent over $500,000 in case expenses), the case settled for a confidential amount on the eve of trial. Many of the defects discussed above were present in Butch's truck and are present on millions of trucks still on the road today. The driver and owner of the other vehicle contributed to the settlement as did our deceased client's employer, a trucking company, that was sued by Freightliner. McDaniel v. Freightliner, et al.
Contact us today if you or a loved one has been injured in a trucking accident. We are here to help answer all of your questions, call the office at 888-335-9457 or contact us online for a free consultation.