The state of Pennsylvania sees a lot of truck accidents on an annual basis. Only four states in the country had more truck accidents in 2013, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The most recent Pennsylvania truck accident statistics show that there were 6,596 truck accidents in the state in 2014, up from 5,846 truck accidents in 2010.
Salem Township in Westmoreland County doesn’t see many too truck accidents, particularly because it is in a rural, not heavily-travelled part of the state. But in the early hours of June 14, a Westmoreland County truck accident left one person dead and others with injuries. Another Pennsylvania truck accident this month in Centre County killed one person and sent two others to an area hospital.
What were the factors in these crashes? Could they have been prevented?
Driver Cited in Westmoreland County Truck Accident
June 14, 2016
One person was killed and two other people were hospitalized on Tuesday when a truck driver ran a red light, instigating a chain reaction crash in Salem Township, Westmoreland County. The Westmoreland County truck accident was reported at around noon on Route 22 near the Lamplighter Restaurant.
Local law enforcement officials told the media that a tractor trailer driver lost control of his rig approaching a red light and plowed into a pickup truck hauling a trailer filled with landscaping supplies. The impact started a chain reaction crash that involved a total of seven other vehicles.
Joe Tatters witnessed the Westmoreland County truck accident. He told Chanel 11 News that he heard the truck’s brakes lock up before he heard the impact. “He was just plowing through, there was no stopping him,” Tatters said of the Westmoreland County truck accident.
Matthew Shollar’s car was one of those hit by the out-of-control tractor trailer. He said he saw the truck hit his vehicle, then a white car before eventually going over the median and hitting several other vehicles.
The victim in the pickup truck, who has since been identified as 67-year-old Jeannette resident, Albert Tomasino, bore the brunt of the damage from the Westmoreland County truck accident. Mr. Tomasino was trapped in his vehicle for roughly an hour before emergency responders were able to successfully cut him out. He was then airlifted to University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Presbyterian Hospital. According to WTAE Action News, Tomasino was pronounced dead at around 2:30 p.m.
Two other individuals involved in the Westmoreland County truck accident were also hospitalized. Their names have not been released, though officials have indicated that their injuries were not considered life threatening.
In the wake of the Westmoreland County truck accident, Pennsylvania State Police investigators were able to interview the truck driver, 26-year-old Cruz Humberto Guzman-Nieves of Illinois. Guzman-Nieves told the police that when he saw the light turn red, he tried to gear down the truck in an attempt to slow down. He further said the truck didn’t have an engine brake. About 50 minutes before the crash, Guzman-Nieves reportedly stopped because his brakes were smoking. After waiting for approximately 35 minutes, he began driving again.
State Troopers have charged Mr. Guzman-Nieves with homicide by vehicle, aggravated assault by vehicle, failure to stop at a red light, failure to drive at a safe speed and careless driving. He remained at Westmoreland County Prison in lieu of posting bail.
Centre County Truck Crash Kills One, Others Hospitalized
June 6, 2016
A Pennsylvania truck accident in Harris Township left on person dead and two others injured on Monday. The fatal Pennsylvania truck accident, which involved a dump truck and three other vehicles, was reported just before 7:00 a.m. on Route 45 between State Route 2004 and Route 144 at Old Fort.
According to WJAC 6, 47-year-old William Smiles was killed when the dump truck slammed into his vehicle. Local law enforcement officials have said the dump truck swerved to avoid a vehicle that had pulled in front of it before colliding with Mr. Smiles’ vehicle.
Two other people involved in the wreck were hospitalized, though the extent of their injuries is not currently known. An investigation into Monday’s Pennsylvania truck accident is ongoing.
Pennsylvania Truck Accident Lawyer
As we have seen, Pennsylvania can be a dangerous state when it comes to truck accidents. If you or someone close to you has been harmed in a truck accident, consider getting in touch with a Pennsylvania truck accident lawyer to evaluate your case. The law firm of Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman offers free case evaluations for the victims of Pennsylvania truck accidents. Contact us today for more information.