FMCSA: South Carolina Truck Driver Deemed Unsafe After Fatal Hit-and-Run

A commercial driver licensed in South Carolina has been placed out-of-service by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) following a fatal hit-and-run crash on I-77 in Chester County, S.C. in February.

trucksontheroad1A shutdown order for the South Carolina driver was issued in March.

An investigation by both the FMCSA and the South Carolina Highway Patrol revealed not only was the driver involved in the fatal truck crash, he allegedly falsified his logs to make it appear as if he was in Charleston, when in fact he was in Chester County. It wasn’t until three days after the truck accident that state authorities were able to track down the driver. What’s more, the driver reportedly had been involved in two other collisions in the eight months prior to this one.

In those instances, he allegedly rear-ended two other vehicles.  First, in July 2015, he allegedly did not slow for stopped traffic on I-77 in Mooresville, N.C. Then in November 2015, the driver made an improper lane change and rear-ended a car on I-26 in North Charleston.

The most recent truck accident involving this driver reportedly happened shortly after 3 a.m. on February 8th. Once again, this was a rear-end collision. Investigators say the driver slammed into the back of a Ford Explorer. This resulted in the sport utility vehicle careening off the road and overturning, killing one of the people inside.

After the crash, the truck driver reportedly fled the truck accident scene. He also ditched the front bumper of his vehicle before finishing up his delivery of a shipment container over to Jonesville in North Carolina. According to the company’s report, the driver told his supervisor in Charleston he had struck a deer and chose to have the bumper repaired. He also changed his driving logs to indicate he was somewhere different at the time of the crash.

In reality, the accident had resulted in the death of a 49-year-old woman from Salisbury. The 36-year-old driver of the truck was also injured. The woman left behind children and grandchildren.

As a result of this incident, the FMCSA issued an “imminent hazard out-of-service” order, which prohibits that driver from operating a commercial vehicle. In that order, the agency said the driver’s decision to continue to operate the truck even after the fatal crash – particularly given his prior history of rear-end collisions – substantially increased the chances of serious injury or death to innocent others on the road.

Violation of this order is punishable by up to $2,500 plus disqualification from operating a commercial vehicle for a minimum of 180 days. But this driver may have bigger problems.

In addition to the investigation by the FMCSA, the South Carolina Highway Patrol has arrested him on felony charges.

Certainly, the driver himself may be held liable for the fatal crash. But so too could the trucking company that employed him. Employers are vicariously liable for their employees even if they weren’t directly negligent. However in this case, there is an argument to be made that the company was directly negligent for not taking him out-of-service after the first two rear-end collisions.

Contact the Carolina injury lawyers at the Lee Law Offices by calling 800-887-1965.

Additional Resources:

S.C. driver shut down after involvement in fatal hit-and-run, March 17, 2016, By Matt Cole, Overdrive

More Blog Entries:

$32M to Family of Woman Killed in Storefront Crash, April 6, 2016, Anderson Truck Accident Lawyer Blog

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