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Trucker in Fatal Odessa 18-Wheeler Crash Arrested for Manslaughter

Odessa 18-Wheeler Accident Lawyer | Decatur 18-Wheeler Accident Lawyer | Zehl & Associates

Federal law enforcement authorities have arrested a trucker in connection with the deadly 18-wheeler crash that tragically killed a Decatur, Texas woman last month.

The 42-year-old man and resident of  New York has been charged with manslaughter and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, both second-degree felonies.

18-Wheeler Driver Violated Hours of Service Regulations

The March 19th accident occurred around 4:00 p.m., as the 18-wheeler approached a construction zone along I-20 West between Grant and Grandview in Odessa. According to the Odessa Police Department, the trucker failed to control his speed and rear-ended a white Jaguar. The impact of that collision caused the Jaguar to crash into the back of a black pickup truck that had stopped for congestion.

The 39-year old woman was a passenger in the Jaguar and died at the accident scene. Paramedics transported the car’s driver to a local hospital, where the 40-year-old Decatur man reportedly received treatment for life-threatening injuries.

A subsequent investigation indicated the 18-wheeler driver had been behind the wheel for more than 16 hours without a proper break, a violation of federal Hours of Service regulations. The United States Marshals Service located the trucker in California and arrested him on the Texas warrants.

Trump Preparing to Weaken Hours of Service Regulations

The federal government enacted the Hours of Service rules to prevent fatigue-related truck and 18-wheeler crashes. Currently, the regulations limit long-haul interstate truckers to 11 hours of driving time within a 14-hour on-duty window and require a 30-minute break after 8 hours behind the wheel. Drivers must also have had 10 consecutive hours off duty before the on-duty clock restarts.

Although driver fatigue is thought to be a factor in roughly 40% of all trucking-related accidents, the Trump administration is currently reviewing a proposal that would significantly weaken the Hours of Service regulations in several key areas. For example, drivers would be permitted to “pause” the 14-hour on-duty window for an off-duty break of up to three hours, provided they take the 10 consecutive hours off duty at the end of the work shift. They would also be allowed to take their 30-minute break while still on duty, just as long as they’re not driving.

Trucking industry lobbyists maintain the reforms would grant drivers far more flexibility without compromising safety. But safety advocates fear the changes will only allow more overworked and exhausted truckers to take to the road, leading to an increase in fatigue-related crashes like the Odessa tragedy.

Undefeated 18-Wheeler Accident Lawyers: Call 1-888-603-3636 or Click Here for a Free Consultation

Our Undefeated Odessa 18-Wheeler Accident Lawyers have won billions for thousands of accident victims and families across Texas and throughout the United States, including the Largest Truck Accident Settlement in Texas for 2019 and the Largest Verdicts and Settlements in Fatigue-Related Crashes.

Please call 1-888-603-3636 or Click Here to send us a confidential email via our “Contact Us” form.

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