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Semi Collision on Indiana Toll Road Kills One

Steve Wagner

A deadly crash on the Indiana Toll Road in LaPorte County claimed the life of a semi-truck driver. Mid-afternoon, just after 3 p.m., Orville McDougall of Florida was driving a Kenworth semi east on the Indiana Toll Road when he approached a backup of traffic near a construction work zone. McDougall, 38, slowed down, but unfortunately, the driver of a commercial truck behind him did not.

36 year-old Kwame Lawson was also driving east on the Indiana Toll Road, heading from Illinois to Maryland. He failed to slow down and struck McDougall’s vehicle from behind around mile marker 42, causing an explosion. The LaPorte County Coroner pronounced Lawson dead at the scene after fire overcame the semi-truck and trapped the man in his vehicle. The official cause of death was blunt force trauma and thermal burns. McDougall was taken to the hospital for non-life threatening injuries.

Unusual Aspects of Fiery Crash

This tragic accident is somewhat unusual for a couple of reasons. Certainly, a majority of fatalities caused by truck accidents involve the death of passenger vehicle drivers. The sheer size difference between the two vehicles creates additional risk for anyone in the smaller vehicle, which can be 30 times smaller than a commercial truck. This is not to say accidents between multiple semis do not occur or never result in death, but such accidents are far less common.

In addition, the driver was injured in the initial impact but not killed. He was, however, trapped by the rapidly spreading fire that engulfed his truck, preventing medical attention from reaching him and causing additional serious injuries. The deadly fire was fed by the cargo being carried by Lawson—paper towels. The semi was stuffed with paper that caught fire easily and spread quickly, complicating the accident beyond the initial crash.

Were You Injured in a Semi-Truck Crash?

After several years of an increasing number of semi accidents resulting in fatalities, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration began reporting a decrease between 2013 and 2014. The number of accidents resulting in injuries has, however, increased. It’s possible new regulations on work and rest have reduced the number of catastrophic and deadly accidents, but studies are just beginning to be completed on the impact of those changes.

If you or a loved one were injured in a commercial truck accident, you can be sure the trucking company’s insurance agency will do everything they can to prevent you being compensated appropriately. The process, whether your case goes to trial or is settled, is complex, stressful, and time-consuming. The attorneys at Wagner Reese have years of experience with these kinds of accidents and can restore a balance of power to your fight for justice. Wagner Reese, with its team of skilled and experienced Indiana truck accident lawyers, is the right choice to represent you in your trucking accident case. Contact us for a no-cost, risk-free consultation on your case at (888) 204-8440.


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