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Widow blames company, driver fatigue on fatal truck accident

Last July, a 26-year-old Nutter Fort, West Virginia, man was killed in a truck accident after working a 22-hour shift. Driving back to their company headquarters at the end of the day, he was one of the crew in a company truck and his co-worker fell asleep at the wheel. His widow recently amended a 2011 wrongful death suit against her husband's company. The suit now personally names the company CEO and president, holding her strictly liable.

The driver survived the fatal truck accident but was injured in the crash. He has filed his own personal injury claim against the company. He says his supervisor forced him to drive back to the company's Anmoore headquarters from Ohio at the end of their work day that began at 4 a.m. The crew finally finished their work around 10 p.m. and was not allowed proper rest. The truck did not contain sleeper berths, and they were not given permission to rent a hotel room or stop and rest.

The energy services company that the men worked for had a history of bad management. In November 2010 after the Department of Transportation cited the company for repeated safety violations, the company permanently lost its commercial vehicle registration. In order to keep their trucks on the road, the widow's lawsuit claims the CEO circumvented federal authorities by leasing trucks from another company and simply swapping the logos on the vehicles. According to the claim, the company also falsified records related to the fatal truck accident to avoid additional DOT punishment.

Because of the "wanton, reckless, willful and grossly negligent" behavior of the company and the executive, the suit seeks both compensatory and punitive damages in hopes the company finally learns a lesson. The young couple was married less than three months when the accident happened.

Source: the, "Widow of W.Va. gas industry worker killed in crash says Colo. Firm made exhausted crew drive," Vicki Smith, May 17, 2012

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