Polk County, FL- The truck driver, who caused a June accident that involved nine vehicles and left six people dead, has been charged with numerous criminal counts including vehicular manslaughter and DUI.
Following release of the results of the National Traffic Safety Board’s preliminary investigation, police in Chattanooga, Tennessee, charged 39-year-old Benjamin Scott Brewer, 39, with six counts of vehicular manslaughter, four counts of vehicular assault,
On June 25th, Brewer, who was labeled an imminent hazard earlier this month, was traveling through Tennessee just outside Chattanooga when he plowed into nine vehicles that had stopped for a construction zone. He traveled 435 ft. before coming to a rest.
The NTSB’s report lays out a timeline of Brewer’s activities prior to the destructive collision. On June 24th, Brewer arrived in London, Kentucky, to pick up a load he was to deliver in Florida, but experienced a problem with the brakes which he had repaired. After his brakes were fixed, Brewer’s truck encountered another mechanical problem and it went back to the shop for repair. By the time his truck was repaired, Brewer has already experienced significant delays before his trip even began.
The NTSB report says that Brewer then continued to Florida with no more mechanical issues, however, after being on-duty for nearly 45 hours, he was involved in a minor collision with no injuries. That collision earned him a citation for reckless driving and delayed his travel schedule for an additional three hours. Once his truck was unloaded, Brewer had been on-duty for 50 hours.
With is load successfully delivered in Florida, Brewer went off duty until 12 hours later when he began his return trip to Kentucky. The NTSB says Brewer began work at 4:30 a.m. and kept driving until 7:00 p.m. when he caused the crash. With nearly 15 hours on duty the day of the accident, the FMCSA established that he was in serious violation of hours-of service rules.
The Free Times reports that Brewer also tested positive for narcotics. And there is currently a drug-related warrant out for his arrest in Wisconsin.
Fatigue, serious hours-of-service violations, drug use and driver pay– major trucking safety issues that plague Florida and the country as a whole– intersected with this particular collision. Because most truck drivers are paid by the job and not by the hour—an issue lawmakers are trying to change—they are under a great deal of pressure to deliver their loads on time. This pressure leads some truck drivers to speed, drive while fatigued and violate hours-of-service rules, all behaviors that put themselves and other motorists at risk. Drug or alcohol use is fairly uncommon among truck drivers, but fatigue and speeding are typical.
If you have been injured or lost a loved one in a Florida truck accident, you should speak with a truck accident attorney near your Florida location to discuss your accident. They will tell if you are eligible for compensation and what actions you can take to get an optimal amount. USAttorneys can connect you with a truck accident lawyer today so you put your life back on track.