The Accident Lawyers Network Blog
Friday, April 18, 2008
Not Guilty Plea in Tractor Trailer Crash
Truck driver, Kenneth Middlebusher, has entered a not guilty plea to negligent driving in an accident that killed two men in Vermont. If convicted of the felony charge of "gross negligent operation of a motor vehicle resulting in a fatality," Middlebusher faces 15 years in prison and a $15,000 fine. He is only facing the one count because the law states he can only be charged once for the same act.
The accident that killed Jeffery Lamore, 29, and Thomas Peterson, 32, and seriously injured Paul Beebe, 53, was allegedly the result of Middlebusher's inexperience, speed, and an unsecured load on the notoriously dangerous Route 9 coming down from Woodford Mountain. Middlebusher claims he was traveling 40 mph, but witnesses put his speed at closer to 60 mph.
Middlebusher had only been employed by Heartland Express Inc., an Iowa-based company, for about a month, has only been driving commercial vehicles for 13 months, had never been on Route 9, and didn't gear down on the road because he "doesn't like to gear down." The unsecured load, which is a federal violation, in Middlebusher's truck was eight rolls of paper, which weighed about 8,000 pounds each. These things, along with his alleged speed, caused Middlebusher's truck to tip over going around a corner. The truck hit the pickup driven by Lamore and Peterson, and Beebe's Ford Escort wagon. Both vehicles were forced into the guard rail where the pickup burst into flames burning both occupants beyond recognition.
Route 9 is steep and winds down Woodford Mountain. It is posted with signs warning drivers of the steep grade. Middlebusher has told police he was aware of the signs and the grade, as well as that his load was unsecured when he left Brattleboro.
posted by Neil at 10:47 AM
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