The accident occurred at approximately 2:30 a.m. Wednesday morning on Interstate 75 near the Alafia River Bridge. Authorities say James Proctor, 42, of Parrish, Florida, was driving along the interstate when a tractor-trailer which was trying to pass him, clipped the rear of his BMW and sent him careening out of control. Proctor’s vehicle veered in between the north and southbound lanes then plunged into the Alafia River, killing him instantly, the Tampa Bay Times reported.
Initially, troopers said the accident was the cause of low visibility due to foggy conditions. However they changed that determination after the National Weather Service confirmed the fog was not dense at the time of the crash.
The ensuing investigation also uncovered the fact that the truck driver, who was driving an ABC Fine Wines & Spirits tractor-trailer has been charged with 27 traffic violations and has had his driver’s license suspended six times. The violations include speeding and driving with a suspended driver’s license.
Only two of the traffic violations were applied to the trucker’s commercial driver’s license and were non-moving violations. But his personal driving record is more troubling and has some wondering how he was able to obtain a commercial driver’s license.
Proctor has also been cited for speeding and failing to yield to an emergency vehicle in the past.
Lt. Jeff Frost of the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles told the Tampa Bay Times that an individual’s personal driving record does not prohibit them from obtaining a commercial driver’s license as long as their license is valid and they are only required to pass written and driving tests.
The crash closed also spilled 30,000 gallons of alcohol along the interstate, prompting the Florida Highway Patrol to close the several lanes out of fear a fire would break out. The ensuing investigation and clean up backed up traffic for several miles.
Authorities have not said if they will cite the trucker for this accident as the investigation is still ongoing.
Even though a personal driving history does not forbid a person from obtaining a commercial driver’s license, it can give insight into an individual’s driving habits and could factor into a civil lawsuit if the victim or victims decide to go this route.
Driving records are among the many things a truck accident attorney will investigate when they have been retained by a victim who wishes to file a personal injury or wrongful death suit. A number of factors must be explored and a truck accident attorney is willing to dedicate their time and experience so that they may build a strong and effective injury claim.
When a truck accident victim retains a truck accident attorney, they can be confident that any settlement they receive will cover their medical costs and any other expenses they incur as a result of their injuries.