Northern Berks police officials say that a tractor-trailer driver fell asleep while traveling on Route 222 in Berks County on Nov. 19, causing a 10-vehicle accident. The 6:30 a.m. crash happened south of Kutztown. The truck slammed into several vehicles that were stopped on the road, killing two people.
The force of the tractor-trailer collision sent two vehicles into a nearby sign and caused an additional two to flip over. Other vehicles involved and resulting debris were scattered among the road. A 23-year-old Lehigh County man and 32-year-old Berks County woman died in the pileup, but it was not disclosed which vehicles they were in or whether they were drivers or passengers.
Police indicate that the 50-year-old truck driver had been driving since 1:30 a.m. and had fallen asleep. Reports claim that he was not awake when the truck slammed into the first vehicle, resulting in a failure to apply brakes. The truck struck more vehicles as he began to wake. The whole accident was caught on camera, say authorities. The man is charged with vehicular homicide, reckless endangerment, vehicular aggravated assault and others.
Along with running a traffic light or distracted driving, falling asleep behind the wheel of a vehicle is considered negligence. In similar crashes resulting in death, the surviving spouse or dependents may qualify for wrongful death restitution. The family of the deceased may ask attorneys for help in navigating the litigation process and in building strong cases for fair compensation. In successful suits, the survivors have the potential to recover pecuniary damages in addition to funeral expenses and lost household income.