A Penske rental truck slammed into the back of a 49-year-old woman's car stopped at a red light on Route 65 in Ambridge, Pennsylvania, and killed her, said the city's police chief. Witnesses and the lack of skid marks suggest that the truck did not have its brakes applied at all. The crash pushed the woman's vehicle about 260 feet and smashed the trunk into the backseat.
An employee of a nursing home and Walmart, the woman was believed to have been on her way to work when the accident happened. Her family and co-workers were shocked to learn of the sudden death.
The truck that hit her vehicle was driven by a 36-year-old man who frequently used it to haul materials for his employer, a commercial roofing company. The police chief said he is suspected of falling asleep behind the wheel. He was arrested, and investigators ordered a blood test. He was known to be a recovering methamphetamine addict and was found to have a warrant for manufacturing methamphetamine and theft in Tennessee.
A black box inside the rental truck may provide more evidence to investigators. Its data will show the speed of the truck and if the brakes had been used at the time of the accident.
When a fatal car accident like this one happens, the survivors are often confronted with funeral expenses and potentially the lost income of a household breadwinner. A person in a similar situation might choose to get the help of an attorney and explore the potential of a wrongful death claim to recover damages. Possible issues an attorney might look for in investigation reports are evidence of driver negligence or poor maintenance on the part of the truck rental company.
Source: WTAE, "Woman dies in Route 65 crash in Ambridge," Amber Nicotra and Sheldon Ingram, Jan. 16, 2015