A Tennessee truck driver who fell asleep at the wheel of his truck and caused a fiery crash in March 2012 was granted probation on Aug. 19 as part of a plea bargain. The collision seriously injured and nearly killed a Tennessee Highway patrolman.
The officer had just completed a traffic stop on westbound I-40 near the Gallaher View Road when the truck collided with his car. The truck driver was convicted of felony reckless endangerment. He initially faced charges of aggravated assault, reckless endangerment, reckless driving and failure to drive within a single lane of traffic.
The driver of the truck and emergency workers from a passing Rural/Metro ambulance stopped to remove the trooper from his cruiser while flames engulfed the back and passenger side of the vehicle. The police officer was transported to the hospital, where he underwent spinal fusion surgery and remained for several weeks.
The officer, who did not appear in court for the determination of probation, said in a prepared statement that he forgave the driver, saw no point in incarceration and wished the man a "productive life" going forward. The officer further suggested the driver volunteer time to disabled veterans.
There are many possible reasons for truck accidents; a weary truck driver is just one of many. The owner of the truck, the person who loaded the cargo or even a maintenance person may be found to have some fault. Under Tennessee law, any person injured in an automobile accident, not simply the driver, is entitled to compensation for their injuries. A personal injury lawyer may be able to advise them regarding the most appropriate avenue for receiving financial compensation from those responsible.
Source: WATE, "Truck driver granted probation after crash that injured THP trooper", Stephanie Beecken, August 19, 2013