At the Rochlin Law Firm, our car accident attorneys have 25 years’ experience with Minnesota auto accidents. Often, the worst car accident injury cases come from a car being hit by a semi-tractor trailer. Here is a news report we recently saw illustrating how bad a car crash with a semi truck can be:
A Minnesota semi truck driver has been charged with five felonies related to a 2015 fatal traffic crash. Clifford A. Rasmussen, 57, Buffalo Lake, Minnesota, was charged Tuesday with felony retaining false records of duty status; false record of duty status for May 10, 2015; false record of duty status for May 12, 2015; false record of duty status for May 13, 2015; and failure to maintain current record of duty status. The truck driver was given a traffic ticket for failure to reduce speed at 12:03 p.m. May 13, 2015, on the highway he was driving on. That spot was the site of a fatal crash involving five other people, three were killed and two were injured.
State police said at the time of the crash that a driver of a semitrailer failed to slow down while approaching a construction zone, striking the rear of the other car. Those two vehicles then traveled off the roadway into the eastern ditch after causing a chain reaction with three other vehicles.
The case had been under review by the State’s Attorney’s office since the crash. The State’s Attorney said his office received evidence, such as a crash reconstruction report along with police reports, witness statements and logbook readings. Tuesday’s charges are “based on the state police reconstruction report and other materials that we received following this tragic crash,” he said.
Asked if he had talked to either victim’s families about the charges, the attorney said, “It was strictly our decision. We certainly have had some contact with the families of the victim, but in no way ultimately shaped our charging decision. We certainly always care about what they have to say.”
“It’s been just a long, really slow trudging year of making them make a decision,” said one family member. “I definitely wanted them, when this first happened, to be looking at reckless homicide. I think based on the reconstruction I understood and was explained to me, I think there was a case for it.” The family received notice about the felony charges Tuesday afternoon and have been persistent about communicating with prosecutors regarding if and when criminal charges would be filed. When a truck hits a car and causes injury or death, our MN lawyers have found that the State Patrol investigation can be incredibly long and frustrating. Thankfully, there was some attempt at holding the truck driver responsible in this case.
The truck driver’s charges are:
- He allegedly made intentionally false statements on three separate records of duty status from May 10, 2015, through May 13, 2015;
- He allegedly said he was off duty in Buffalo Lake, Minnesota, when his PrePass transponder showed him in Hudson, Wisconsin, approximately 100 miles away from start location May 10, 2015;
- He allegedly made a false report of a 30-minute break on May 12, 2015, when he was shown on the road during that time frame;
- He allegedly recorded he was in Indianapolis when his PrePass transponder located him in Carlock, about 180 miles away about an hour later;
- He allegedly failed to maintain current record of duty status for May 13, 2015, which was the day of the crash.
Our car accident lawyers have encountered this type of conduct by a semitrailer driver many times in Minnesota over the last 25 years. It is sad but true that some semi drivers feel the need to drive beyond what the law allows, e.g. drive too long without rest, and then they falsify records to cover it up. A top truck car crash attorney has to investigate these MN car hit by truck accident cases very carefully and thoroughly to uncover the potential dishonesty by the semi truck driver or the shipping company.
If you have been injured in a car accident in MN with a semi truck, call our experienced car accident injury lawyers for a free consultation. Pam Rochlin is a former partner at Meshbesher and Spence and was the 2015 president of Minnesota Women Lawyers. A car accident lawyer will meet you at our office in Edina, Minneapolis, Woodbury, or St. Louis Park. An attorney will also come to your home or the hospital to discuss your auto accident hit by semitrailer case in St. Paul, Roseville, Burnsville, Apple Valley, Lakeville, Eagan, Bloomington, Richfield, Prior Lake, Chanhassen, Chaska, Maple Grove, Forest Lake, and other cities throughout Minnesota. Our focus is on getting your medical bills paid, reimbursement for lost wages, and other full compensation for your pain and suffering. The consultation is free and we never charge anything unless you receive compensation.