Wrongful death suit filed over highway pile-up behind smoking truck

By Michelle Massey, East Texas Bureau | Jan 21, 2009

MARSHALL - When a Downey Trucking tractor-trailer experienced mechanical problems on an East Texas highway, it billowed thick black smoke across the road. In the poor visibility, several vehicles collided in a chain reaction.

Court papers say Corey Crawford rear-ended a Fed Ex truck that had slowed down. Moments later Crawford's Toyota Solara was rear-ended by a log truck.

The driver of the log truck and Crawford suffered fatal injuries in the multicar collision.

Crawford's family believes the driver of the Downey Trucking Inc. tractor trailer was negligent for continuing to operate the truck with a mechanical failure.

Cherlyn Crawford, as next friend and guardian of minor Kyndle Crawford and as representative of the estate of Corey Crawford, filed a lawsuit against Downey Trucking Inc. and FedEx Custom Critical Inc. on Jan. 14 in the Marshall Division of the Eastern District of Texas.

According to the lawsuit, the tractor-trailer owned by Downey Trucking laid down a thick blanket of smoke due to a mechanical failure, which resulted in a complete loss of visibility to the others driving on the road.

Following behind the smoking tractor-trailer, a driver for FedEx Custom Critical "elected to continue into the smoke despite the complete loss of visibility, and to stay on the main travel lane while sharply reducing the speed of his vehicle," the plaintiff alleges.

When the FedEx truck slowed, Crawford collided into it. Moments later, Crawford's vehicle was struck from behind by a log truck.

The plaintiff argues the drivers of the smoking tractor-trailer and of the FedEx truck were operating their vehicles in a negligent manner.

The family is seeking damages of a pecuniary value for the loss of love, affection, solace, comfort, companionship, society, car, maintenance, support, services, advice, and counsel.

On behalf of the estate of Corey Crawford, the complaint is seeking damages for conscious pain and suffering, mental anguish, medical expenses, funeral expenses, pre- and post-judgment interest.

Marshall attorneys Amanda Abraham, Brendan Roth and Robert Stein of the Roth Law Firm are representing the plaintiff.

U.S. District Judge T. John Ward will preside over the litigation.
Jury trial requested.

Case No 2:09cv00017

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