Chain reaction accident causes wrongful death in Pennsylvania

Most drivers, whether from Pennsylvania or another state, know what it’s like to get trapped in heavily congested traffic. Moving at irregular stop-and-go speeds in a long line of cars and tractor-trailers can be a dangerous way to travel. It is easy to see how a serious accident or even wrongful death could occur if any of the motorists lose focus or drive while distracted.

A husband and wife in their 60s recently died while in a long line of traffic that had formed following a tanker truck accident that happened earlier that day. The two were killed when their SUV was hit from behind by a tractor-trailer in the line of traffic behind them. The impact caused a domino-like reaction, pushing the SUV into the tractor-trailer in front of it and slamming that vehicle into the next tractor-trailer in line.

The woman in the SUV died before she could be taken for treatment. Her husband was taken to a local hospital. He died while there several days later.

The driver of the tractor-trailer that started the chain reaction was allegedly texting on his phone when the wreck occurred. He now faces multiple charges, including manslaughter and reckless driving and endangerment. The drivers in the other two rigs suffered minor injuries. An update on their conditions was not available at the time of this report.

It is possible to understand how the tractor-trailer drive allegedly became distracted. However, he is still responsible for the consequences of his actions. In addition to criminal charges, he (and potentially his employer) may soon face civil action in Pennsylvania court if the family members of the couple that died pursue a wrongful death lawsuit.

Source:, Police: Trucker texting before fatal crash on I-81, Myles Snyder, Jan. 16, 2014