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Could drug use be a factor in a fatal truck accident?


Truck accidents, as New Jersey residents are aware, often result in serious injuries and deaths. A truck accident that happened in Oklahoma but caught the attention of people across the United States several weeks ago was no exception. However, the fatal accident's investigation took a turn recently, as drug use may have been a factor in the accident.

The accident, which occurred on September 26, 2014, involved a 53-year-old male truck driver who was traveling on Interstate 35. The tractor-trailer he was driving veered out of the lane, struck the median and then hit a bus carrying a North Central Texas College women's softball team. Four people died as a result of the crash and 11 others suffered injuries. The National Transportation Safety Board investigated the incident. The initial investigation revealed that the driver may not have used evasive braking maneuvers to avoid the crash. The driver also admitted to being distracted.

Recently, after searching the vehicle, police found a bag of prescription drugs and a marijuana pipe, which made authorities consider the accident to be drug-related. The drugs, which were found inside the driver's bag, were identified as trazodone and sertraline, both antidepressants. That class of drugs is also used to treat sleeplessness and anxiety. In addition, those particular drugs are known to cause drowsiness. Stomach acid inhibitors, a cholesterol-lowering drug, local anesthetic and an anti-steroidal were also found.

Authorities are still trying to determine whether the driver used marijuana and the other drugs while he was driving on that day. The accident victims have already filed negligence lawsuits against the driver and the truck company.

If a New Jersey resident is injured in a similar truck accident, that person may wish to file a legal action to hold the driver or the truck company liable. Compensation may be awarded through the lawsuit. The monetary award can help a victim recover accident-related expenses.

Source: Bloomberg, "Drug Pipe Found in Truck That Killed Four Ball Players," David Voreacos and Margaret Wick, Oct. 11, 2014

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