Underride GuardSalt Lake City, UT- One woman is dead and a man is in critical condition after they were struck by passing tractor-trailer as they were changing a flat tire on I-5 in Salt Lake City Sunday night.

Utah Highway Patrol said the 27-year-old Mailefihi Tua’one of West Valley City was taking her friend 25-year-old Monte “Junior” Keiaho of Logan to his home in North Salt Lake when her the left rear tire of her Corolla went flat.
Tua’one and Keiaho pulled over to the right should of I-5’s northbound lanes to change the tire when they were both struck by a passing tractor-trailer. Tua’one was killed instantly and Keiho was taken to the hospital in critical condition, KUTV reported.

Keiaho, who once played football for Utah State University, is expected to survive but could have his arm amputated. Keiaho’s father told KUTV that his son’s arm was broken in three places.

Tua’one’s brother suspects his sister was pulled in by the draft coming from the trailer of the semi since there was no damage to her car.

Utah State Police are trying to determine of the truck which was driven by a Las Vegas man drifted across the lane divider into the emergency lane. The truck driver has not been cited as the investigation is ongoing.

Ironically, Tua’one’s father who was a truck driver was killed in a truck accident several years ago, according to KUTV. Her brother is also a truck driver.

Changing a tire on a busy interstate is risky; vehicles are traveling at a high rate of speed and they often don’t see cars on the side of the road. Utah State Patrol suggest motorists drive to the nearest exit to change their tires if they are able.

This particular accident may be just an unfortunate accident not caused by negligence on the part of a truck driver, but there are thousands of truck accidents that can be directly attributed to truck driver error.

In fact, driver error is one of the leading causes of truck accidents nationwide. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration truck drivers are more likely at fault for injurious or fatal truck accidents than inclement weather, dangerous road conditions or mechanical failures.

Driving too fast for conditions, fatigue and intoxication are commonly cited in driver error truck accidents. FMCSA data shows that speeding accounts for 23 percent of these driver errors accidents with fatigue cited in 18 percent.
When a fatal or injurious truck accident is attributed to driver error, the victims or their surviving loved ones have the legal right to pursue that negligent driver for compensation. In some cases, the truck company can also be held accountable depending on the circumstances of each accident.

Truck accident victims should consult with a Salt Lake City truck accident attorney before they speak to anyone about their injury claim. A truck accident attorney will be able to determine how to approach your injury claim and do what it takes to assure their client secures a generous and just settlement.