Safety & Compliance

$63 Million Settlement Reached in Suit Over Oklahoma Crash

October 07, 2010

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The families of eight people killed in a truck crash last year on the Oklahoma Turnpike have settled a lawsuit for $62.7 million.

According to published reports, the settlement was announced just as jury selection was scheduled to begin Thursday morning.

The crash occurred June 26, 2009, when 76-year-old Donald Creed drove his tractor-trailer into several cars that were stopped on the Will Rogers Turnpike doe to an earlier accident.

The National Transportation Safety Board recently announced that driver fatigue was at the root of the crash, which killed 10 people. (A relative of the other two victims reached a settlement previously.) Six more were injured.

In August Creed pleaded guilty to 10 counts of negligent homicide and received a 10-year probated sentence and served a 30-day jail sentence. Relatives of eight of the victims filed suit against Creed as well as the company he worked for, Associated Wholesale Grocers, for failure to properly train and supervise Creed.

Federal investigators say the driver was suffering from fatigue caused by circadian disruption associated with the his work schedule. The NTSB says Creed likely had less than five hours of sleep prior to beginning his work shift at 3 a.m. At the time of the crash, he had been on the road for more than 10 hours. Creed, who suffers from mild sleep apnea, failed to react to slowing and stopped traffic. He never applied brakes or performed any evasive maneuvers to avoid colliding with the traffic queue, the NTSB noted in its crash report.

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