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Logging truck driver off the hook in fatal wreck

In terms of criminal liability, the driver of a logging truck is off the hook after his truck overturned, spilling the logs on board, which rolled into a nearby house and killed the 5-year-old boy inside. But when it comes to negligence in this commercial truck accident, this driver might be fair game in a wrongful death suit.

As Erin Rhoda reports for the Portland Press Herald, the local prosecutor will not press charges against logging truck driver Christian Cloutier. The evidence, ranging from the possibility that Cloutier fell asleep behind the wheel or improperly negotiated the turn - would not have supported a charge of criminal negligence.

Nonetheless, evidence of fatigued or otherwise poor driving is probably more than sufficient to allow a personal injury lawsuit to proceed against him. As Rhoda reports, the prosecutor said, "He had made comments that he had thought he had fallen asleep. And there's even some evidence that he may not have negotiated the turn correctly."

In Texas, logging trucks do not make the news as much as those oil tankers going to and from oilfields and natural gas deposits like the Eagle Ford and Barnett shale plays. But oil tanker or logging truck, truck driver negligence is truck driver negligence.

Source: The Portland Press Herald, "Driver in accident that killed boy won't be charged," by Erin Rhoda, 12/9/11

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