Oklahoma Trucker Gets Prison Term in Fatal Crash

by | Nov 19, 2013 | Truck Accident

An Oklahoma truck driver was sentenced recently to 12 years in prison after he was convicted of manslaughter in the deaths of two people in a fatal truck crash in west Texas in late 2011. In an account of the sentencing, mywesttexas.com reported that the truck driver, Andrew Jerry Muniz, T-boned a pickup truck, killing its driver and passenger on impact.

Investigators said at the time that Muniz ran a stop sign, according to the Odessa American.

Crashes involving tractor-trailers are particularly dangerous given the obvious difference in size and weight between the large trucks and and other vehicles on the road. In 2011, about 112,000 people were injured and more than 4,000 people died in tractor-trailer crashes, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

Earlier this month, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) criticized the FMCSA for failing to crack down on dangerous truck and bus companies in time to prevent deadly crashes. The federal agency, which is charged with enforcing commercial truck safety, did not notice or did not respond to warning signals about transportation companies in four recent crashes that killed a total of 25 people and caused 83 injuries, the NTSB said.

Truck drivers who are impaired by drugs or alcohol endanger everyone on the road, as do those who drive while distracted.  Recently, a truck driver in Arizona struck a patrol car, killing a police officer. Police said the truck driver was distracted by looking at Facebook pictures on his cellphone. The truck driver faces 20 felony charges. Dashcam footage shows the driver looking at the cellphone before the fatal crash, according to pennlive.com.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that more than 5,000 people are killed in distracted driving accidents yearly.

Although the judicial system takes vehicular homicide and manslaughter seriously, the criminal courts do not offer compensation to Oklahoma families who lose a loved one to a large truck accident. Families often must initiate civil lawsuits with the help of Oklahoma City truck accident lawyers to obtain compensation for their loss.