SEVEN FAMILY MEMBERS KILLED IN A FIERY CRASH AFTER SUV WAS CRUSHED BETWEEN TWO SEMI-TRUCKS IN INDIANA
One Year after a Family’s Devastating Truck Crash—A Prosecutor Decides not to Press Charges on the Truck Driver Responsible for their Deaths
WASHINGTON, D.C. (August 15, 2014) – A family remembers their loved ones one year after a horrific truck crash killed seven members of their family in Jasper County, Indiana. The crash occurred on August 15, 2013, after the family’s SUV was stopped in traffic approaching a work zone and was rear-ended by a semi-truck. The initial impact pushed the SUV into another semi ahead of them. The SUV subsequently burst into flames. The crash took the lives of Lindsey Williams, 27, and her two children, Yazmin Goldman, 5, and Arielle Goldman, 3, Lindsay’s sister Yvette Williams, 35, and her two children, Jamin Osborne, 5, and Jazmin Osborne, 7, and the Williams sisters’ Uncle, Amado Mangual, 49. The truck drivers involved suffered minor injuries. To the dismay of the victims’ family, the Prosecutor has chosen not to press charges on the truck driver that caused this crash. This decision has devastated the family seeking justice for their enormous loss.
Gerald Williams, father of Lindsey and Yvette Williams and grandfather of Yazmin and Arielle Goldman and Jamin and Jazmin Osborne, is shocked by this decision. “As we approach the one year anniversary of the crash, I am astounded that justice will not be served for our family. We lost seven family members in a split second because of the poor decisions of one driver. He should suffer the consequences of those decisions.”
Mr. Williams, who worked as a truck driver for many years, continued, “I have seen many truck and car crashes but I never thought it would happen to our family. My daughter was just going to pick up her kids from a summer vacation with their grandmother so they could return to Georgia for school. It’s a shame you can’t be in a work zone waiting on traffic to move without being rear ended. I’m devastated that there are no charges being filed against this truck driver. It has torn our family apart. I will work hard to see that the laws are changed so this will not happen again. My kids and grandkids loved life and were very smart. I miss their laughter and joy for life.”
Several safety issues contributed to the crash that occurred on I-65. The lack of skid marks on the road indicate that the driver failed to slow down or brake before colliding with the family’s vehicle, and have led the Williams family to speculate that the truck driver was either inattentive or fatigued at the time of the crash. Truck driver fatigue has been an industry-wide health and safety issue for over 70 years and continues to be a major contributor to truck crashes. From 2009 to 2012, truck crash fatalities increased by 16 percent, and truck crash injuries increased by a staggering 40 percent, resulting in 104,000 injuries in 2012. Moreover, a 2006 Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) study revealed that 65 percent of truck drivers reported they often or sometimes feel drowsy while driving and nearly half admitted they fell asleep while driving in the previous year.
It is also believed that the semi-truck hit the SUV at Interstate speeds. The truck driver had a list of speeding violations prior to this crash. In fact, the driver had been ticketed for speeding at least five times since 2006. Trucks are over represented in fatal highway crashes and even more so in work zone fatal crashes. Although trucks account for about four percent of registered vehicles, they are involved in 11 percent of fatal highway crashes, and 27 percent of fatal work zone crashes involve at least one truck.
Judith Williams, who lost her daughters, Lindsey and Yvette Williams, grandchildren, Yazmin and Arielle Goldman and Jamin and Jazmin Osborne, and brother, Amado Mangual, in this crash stated, “Nothing will ever bring back my family, but I believe this driver should get more than a slap on the wrist. All actions have repercussions. The message we’re sending to other drivers is that it’s okay to speed, to not pay attention, and to drive fatigued. The driver killed seven people I want to make sure no one else ever has to go through the loss and heartache my family and I must live with for the rest of our lives.”
The Truck Safety Coalition (www.trucksafety.org), a partnership between the Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH) Foundation and Parents Against Tired Truckers (PATT), is dedicated to reducing the number of deaths and injuries caused by truck-related crashes, providing compassionate support to truck crash survivors and families of truck crash victims, and educating the public, policy-makers and media about truck safety issues.