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The Purcell Register is reporting that a catastrophic fatality trucking accident occurred on April 1, 2010 involving numerous vehicles on State Highway 74. The accident involved numerous vehicles but seems to have been caused by a semi going left of center on the highway. According to the news story

The accident occurred when a 1992 International truck, driven by Lonnie Frnaklin Henson, 35, of Chickasha, went left of center. Henson was going south on state Highway 74.

When the truck went left of center, it struck a trailer being towed by a pickup driven by Phillip Elam, 58, of Purcell, according to the trooper’s report.

The truck then struck a vehicle driven by Gerald Mac Ball. Mr. Ball’s wife was a passenger in the vehicle.

The report further states that

The Ball’s vehicle left the roadway to the right, overcorrected to the left, and rolled approximately two times coming to rest on its wheels.

Mr. Ball was partially ejected and pinned. He was extricated using the Hurst tool.

According to the report, Mr. Ball sadly passed from “massive trauma” while his wife remains in critical condition. Our condolences and deepest sympathies go out to all those involved in this horrific trucking accident.

From a purely safety standpoint, this trucking accident raises several questions not reported in the story. It will be interesting to see if driver distraction and/or fatigue played a role in this deadly accident. A vehicle going left of center should result in a thorough investigation of whether fatigue or driver distraction was involved. The driver and carrier in this instance should be put on immediate notice to preserve all hours of service logs, fuel receipts, weight tickets, GPS tracking information, information from onboard communication devices, cellular phone records and several other items that an experienced trucking attorney will know to ask for. Also, an accident reconstruction expert should be on the scene immediately to examine the forensic evidence at the crash site.

There are several other items an experienced attorney will know to ask for through a “spoliation letter”. A “spoliation letter” puts the trucking company and driver on notice to preserve important items that may be relevant in any potential litigation that may ensue from this wreck.

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