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Wrongful Death Claim Filed in Fatal California Crash

Family members of a couple killed in a truck-auto accident have filed a wrongful death claim in connection with the tragic collision, according to

On July 7, 2017, 31-year-old Nicolett Conley and her fiance, 33-year-old Matthew Woodall, were passengers in a Toyota Camry being driven by a friend to Las Vegas to meet other friends for pre-wedding celebrations. They were set to be married just two weeks later after a family cruise to Key West, where the wedding was scheduled to take place. Traffic along the stretch of highway they were on slowed to a halt. Both Conley and Woodall were in the back passenger seats in the car at the time.

Jose Antonio Herrera, who was driving a big truck for GTC Freight that was carrying 40,000 pounds of dairy items from a cold storage facility at the time, slammed into the back of the stopped Camry. Herrera reportedly hit the smaller car at 55 mph, failing to slow down for the stopped traffic. It’s still unclear what distracted the truck driver at the time; tests determined he was not under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the crash.

The resulting collision at that high speed was described by the families’ representative as “catastrophic.” The impact pushed the Camry into a pickup truck, and the truck flipped backwards and upside down, coming to rest on top of the Camry. Both Woodall and Conley were pronounced dead by emergency personnel at the scene of the accident, and the two people in the front seat were taken to the hospital. Remarkably, the people in the pickup truck did not need emergency medical help at the scene. Herrera was also not seriously injured in the collision.

Conley left behind a five-year-old daughter, who is one of the listed plaintiffs in the lawsuit, along with Conley’s parents. The claim has been filed against GTC Freight, the owner of the truck, and Herrera.

Herrera received a citation for driving at an unsafe speed at the time of the accident. Since then, the accident has been investigated by the California Highway Patrol. The patrol’s recommendation to the San Bernardino District Attorney’s office is that Herrera be charged with vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence. The case is still under review by the DA’s office at this time.

Big rigs can cause serious damage because of their sheer size and weight, with speeding only making an impact even worse. Those are some of the reasons that when truck drivers are negligent, the consequences can be tragic for other people who are sharing the road with them. Unfortunately, distracted driving is on the rise across the country in general, and this is one dangerous trend that has shown no signs of slowing down despite numerous public education campaigns aimed at curbing it.

If you have lost someone you love in a big rig accident or have been injured in a truck collision, speak to an attorney, Denver personal injury lawyer, about your rights and your case.

Thanks to our friends and contributors from The Law Offices of Richard J. Banta, P.C. for their insight into wrongful death cases.

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