Just a few miles outside of New York City, a truck driver is has been charged with vehicular homicide and with lying to law enforcement officers. According to a media report, the New Jersey tractor-trailer driver was distracted by cellphone use while he was driving.
Law enforcement officials say it's one of the first times a trucker's cellphone records are being in a truck accident prosecution.
A Harrison man - the father of two daughters - was killed in the crash on the southbound New Jersey Turnpike about two months ago.
The 43-year-old was a musician and audio engineer. He died when the truck driver's 1996 Kenworth started a violent chain reaction by slamming into the back of a vehicle shortly before 5 p.m. that June day. Several other people were injured in resultant collisions.
The trucker reportedly lives just across the Hudson River from Midtown in Union City, New Jersey.
Earlier this year, the trucker was cited in his hometown for driving while using his smartphone, state records show. His driving record is strewn with 19 violations, including careless driving, speeding, unsafe operation of a motor vehicle and driving with a suspended license.
Prosecutors said they have spent the two months since the crash collecting evidence that includes the man's phone records.
That sort of investigation is similar to what personal injury attorneys will do if asked by the family of the slain man or the injured motorists. With evidence that the operator of a vehicle weighing tens of thousands of pounds was illegally texting or talking on a phone while behind the wheel, an attorney can pursue full and fair compensation for damages in wrongful death claims and personal injury claims.
Source: NorthJersey.com, "Trucker charged with vehicular homicide after alleged cellphone use led to fatal crash in Carlstadt," Stefanie Dazio and Abbott Koloff, August 1, 2014