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18-wheeler claims life of former Ohio State professor

A 63-year-old woman who was the former chair of the civil, environmental and geodetic engineering department at Ohio State University and a long-time faculty member died after being hit by a tractor-trailer on Interstate 71 in Madison County. The truck driver has been charged with vehicular homicide, a first-degree misdemeanor, in her death.

The accident happened on June 3 around 4 p.m. when the woman, returning from an art exhibit in Cincinnati, was caught in traffic on I-71 near Pickaway County due to a previous accident. According to a representative of the Ohio Highway Patrol, the tractor-trailer, driven by a 40-year-old Arkansas man, rear-ended her SUV. The driver of the semi reportedly continued and hit another tractor-trailer also traveling north on I-71 and, after hitting the guardrail, overturned. The woman died at the crash site, and the truck drivers were both uninjured.

Truck drivers face many difficulties on the road, including driver fatigue and maintenance issues. Because of their size and subsequent momentum, serious injuries or death can result when tractor-trailers collide with smaller passenger vehicles. In order to ensure that truckers maintain a low accident rate, training is essential.

If an individual is killed because of an accident with a negligent truck driver, the at-fault driver or the company for which he or she works may be held liable for damages that the decedent's family will likely face. For this, the family could file a wrongful death lawsuit. The trucker's liability in a civil lawsuit is not based on criminal charges or a conviction, though these may be used as evidence during civil proceedings.

Source: The Columbus Dispatch, "Retired Ohio State department chairwoman killed in car accident", Jim Woods , June 04, 2014

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