A trucker and his passenger are suing Midwest Transport Inc., whose driver slammed into the back of their tractor-trailer while high on marijuana. They are saying the company is negligent for the fatal accident and the serious injuries they sustained.
You know someone is mad at you when they come after you when you’re dead.
In a complaint filed July 11 in the U.S District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, Illinois-based Midwest Transport Inc., and the estate of its deceased driver, Joseph Craig Davis, were sued for negligence. The case comes after Davis rear-ended the tractor-trailer in July 2020 while he was driving on I-70 across Ohio.
According to Law360.com, an online local obituary confirmed that Davis died in the accident. According to court documents, Davis was either suffering from fatigue or was under the effects of the THC that was found in his system in a toxicology report after the accident.
Prosecutors claim that those conditions caused him to be inattentive, drive at an unsafe speed, and crash into the back of the other truck during a period of slow-moving traffic on Interstate 70. The victims, driver Leon Nelson Landaverde and passenger Karla Landaverde, said they had no part in contributing to the collision.
In addition to Davis’ alleged impairment, the couple blamed Midwest Transport, saying it “knowingly and carelessly encouraged” Davis to exceed the federal driving and on-duty hour rules in order to meet its delivery schedule. In doing so, this resulted in his sleep deprivation.
A long list of violations of federal and state law are alleged
“Defendant Midwest Transport was negligent, careless, and reckless in hiring, entrusting, retaining, supervising and training Davis.” – Attorneys for the Landaverde family
Specifically, the Landaverdes accused Midwest Transport of requiring drivers to meet “unrealistic driving goals” that caused them to exceed hours-of-service regulations, failing to have policies in place to identify undertrained drivers, and failing to ensure that its routes could be completed within hours-of-service rules. Those are among other things listed in the complaint.
The alleged actions of Midwest and Davis constituted “negligence per se” and violated four parts of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. Davis is also accused of violating eight Ohio statutes. Those are texting and driving, driving under the influence and failing to leave adequate space between cars (following too closely).
As a result of the accident, the Landaverdes have sustained unspecified severe and permanent injuries, which resulted in their pain and suffering, loss of earning capacity and other damages, according to the complaint.
In their complaint, the Landaverdes said they are seeking at least $75,000, plus attorney fees and costs, and punitive damages. That’s the minimum amount they can ask for from the District Court, which can always increase that amount.
“The defendants’ acts and omissions were committed with a reckless, wanton or willful disregard for the safety of others such that the imposition of exemplary or punitive damages is warranted to deter future conduct,” the complaint said.
Midwest Transport Inc. is based out of Robinson, Illinois. According to the SAFER website, the company has 461 power units and 660 drivers. Midwest Transport lists general freight and U.S. Mail as cargoes that the company hauls. Midwest Transport has a Vehicle Out of Service percentage of 24.1%, which is above the national average of 21.48%.
The suit is Landaverde et al. v. Midwest Transport Inc. et al., case number 2:22-cv-02753, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio.