News & Events
It was a distracted semi-truck driver who was responsible for the death of a man in a fatal Minnesota truck accident, reports CBS Minnesota (http://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2018/03/01/semi-driver-distracted-cell-phone/).
Samuel Hicks, a 28-year-old from Independence, Wisconsin, was reportedly on his cell phone when his tractor trailer crushed the car driven by Robert Bursick, a 54-year-old man from Amery, Wisconsin. Hicks was charged with a count of criminal vehicular homicide for his role in the horrific accident. If he is convicted on that charge, he faces a sentence of up to ten years in jail.
The accident happened right after noon on February 27, 2018, near Lake Elmo in Minnesota on Highway 36’s eastbound lanes. This collision was so severe in nature that first responders on the scene were unable to determine the model or make of the victim’s car, which was crushed in the accident.
A video from the outside of the truck and the inside of the truck captured the last few moments of Bursick’s life. In that video, according to documents filed in court, Hicks is seen looking at his cell phone instead of the road for a total of eight full seconds. The truck driver also told the Wisconsin State Patrol that he was driving 63 miles per hour at the time, which police say is long enough for him to have traveled for over 700 feet at the speed; this is more than the length of two football fields combined.
Bursick owned a local nursery in Turtle Lake and Amery and was also a professor at North Hennepin Community College. The school has released a statement regarding his passing, saying the professor will be very missed and touched many lives.
In an unusually emotional display, Minnesota State Patrol Colonel Matt Langer said a full campaign against distracted driving in the state is needed. According to the patrol head, distracted driving is seen far too often in the state, and this accident is yet another tragic example.
In Minnesota, driving while distracted is now a contributor to one out of four crashes, 215 serious injuries and around 65 deaths annually, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety reports.
The Washington County Attorney’s Office, which is handling this case, also weighed in on the dangers of distracted driving. Siv Yurichuk, the assistant attorney at the office, said that distracted driving is a choice made by a driver just like drinking and driving, and it’s no different. Pete Orput, the county attorney, added that he is going to use this case as an example in his continuing fight for tougher penalties and laws regarding distracted driving at the state legislative level.
Distracted driving isn’t a problem limited to Minnesota; it’s been on the rise nationwide. Many factors appear to be influencing this upward trend, including the increasing use of electronic devices overall and the inclusion of more devices in today’s vehicles.
If you or someone in your family has been injured in an accident involving a distracted driver, speak to an auto attorney, like a car accident lawyer Denver CO relies on, about your case.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Richard J. Banta, P.C. for their insight into car accident cases.