Crack smoking drowsy trucker kills 5 in Arkansas

At Pine Bluff, Arkansas, on Saturday afternoon, a Mississippi tractor trailer driver crossed the highway center line and killed a mother and four children.  Those killed were LaKetria Wells, 26, of Monticello, a prison guard at the state Cummins Unit, and her children, LaKiyah Wells, 7; Kaleb Jarrell Stokes, 5; Keyshon Wells, 4; and LaKayla Wells, 2.

A witness told investigators that, about an hour before the crash, the big rig was parked on the side of the highway and Jordan was slumped over the steering wheel, asleep. Another witness told police that before the accident, the truck driver appeared to be struggling to stay awake and was lurching across lanes on the four-lane but undivided highway.

A search of the truck cab revealed a crack pipe.    The truck driver admitted that he had used crack cocaine earlier in the day, falsified his log books, and did not get the required amount of sleep.   See my article on punitive damages for violation of hours of service rules, which of course hardly begins to scratch the surface of the punitive damages issues in this tragic incident.

For every truck driver like this one, there are hundreds who try to play by the rules and operate safely under often adverse circumstances.  Every occupation — including law — has its bad guys who harm the reputation of the group.  The challenge is the purge the worst and make of them examples that can help to raise the behavioral standards of all the rest.

The Shigley Law Firm  represents plaintiffs in wrongful death and catastrophic injury cases statewide in Georgia, and in other states (recently including Alabama, Nevada and Florida) subject to the multijurisdictional practice and pro hac vice rules in each state. Ken Shigley was designated as a "SuperLawyer" in Atlanta Magazine and one of the "Legal Elite" in Georgia Trend Magazine. He is a Certified Civil Trial Advocate of the National Board of Trial Advocacy, Chair of the Southeastern Motor Carrier Liability Institute and former chair of the Georgia Insurance Law Institute. He particularly focuses on cases arising from truck wrecks and accidents (tractor trailers truck wrecks, semi truck wrecks,18 wheeler truck wrecks, big rig truck wrecks, log truck wrecks, dump truck wrecks.