Family files lawsuit against truck driver

Cook County - On April 13, 2005, 44-year-old Christopher Cooper failed to stop his tractor trailer and ran over a car driven by 23-year-old Michelle Yancy of Adel. Full Story
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sweetmama31620

United States

#1 Feb 23, 2006
I think its time these truck driver slow down on the roads...people in cars trucks and vans have to get out of their way or die.....I knew michelle she was a sweet girl with a bright future ahead of her.....life cut short.
rebekah hughes

United States

#2 Apr 25, 2006
sweetmama31620 wrote:
I think its time these truck driver slow down on the roads...people in cars trucks and vans have to get out of their way or die.....I knew michelle she was a sweet girl with a bright future ahead of her.....life cut short.
I completely agree with you. I was one of Michelle's best friends for the last 7 years of her life. I only wish that truck drivers will take deaths like Michelle's to heart and pay attention to what they are doing. For the driver in this case to say that he didnt see Michelle is absolutely ridiculous to me. He should be punished.
Cincinnati Driver

Wilmington, OH

#3 Jun 8, 2006
And what about the thousands of automobile drivers that cause so many near misses that only us professional truck drivers can avoid? The real issue here is to train young drivers and teach them of the potential dangers of driving dangerously, aggressively, and down right insane around road trucks. So many drivers thing that just because that truck has eighteen wheels, it has more brakes and more tires on the ground so it can stop faster. WRONG! That truck is often over 20 times heavier than your average automobile making it 20 times harder to stop. Also so many young male drivers think it is some kind of a game to cut off or buzz trucks on the highway, "...after all, that driver will do everything to keep from hitting me. Or he'll pay dearly!" Right, the commercial driver is nearly always at fault until the accident is thoroughly investigated, so an alert driver will indeed try to avoid the aggressor at all cost, except to leave the road. This fact is something all automobile drivers need to be aware of. A professional truck driver will never leave the road unless his own life is at risk, and we are taught to hit the one causing the accident if it is possible.
BekLynn

United States

#4 Jun 9, 2006
Cincinnati Driver wrote:
And what about the thousands of automobile drivers that cause so many near misses that only us professional truck drivers can avoid? The real issue here is to train young drivers and teach them of the potential dangers of driving dangerously, aggressively, and down right insane around road trucks. So many drivers thing that just because that truck has eighteen wheels, it has more brakes and more tires on the ground so it can stop faster. WRONG! That truck is often over 20 times heavier than your average automobile making it 20 times harder to stop. Also so many young male drivers think it is some kind of a game to cut off or buzz trucks on the highway, "...after all, that driver will do everything to keep from hitting me. Or he'll pay dearly!" Right, the commercial driver is nearly always at fault until the accident is thoroughly investigated, so an alert driver will indeed try to avoid the aggressor at all cost, except to leave the road. This fact is something all automobile drivers need to be aware of. A professional truck driver will never leave the road unless his own life is at risk, and we are taught to hit the one causing the accident if it is possible.
I agree about the difficulty of a semi stopping. You cant just stop at the drop of a hat so to speak. But let me just explain a little bit about this accident in particular. My best friend Michelle was stopped along with the rest of the 2 lanes of traffic on I-75. There was another accident that caused the traffic to halt. And with both Southbound lanes on 75 at a complete stop, the semi coming up behind her apparently didnt notice all those vehicles in front of him and ran right over Michelle's car--killing her instantly. The damage done to her was so bad our local coroner didnt recognize her until her mother brought pictures of her to the funeral home. The investigation showed absolutely no signs of the driver even touching his brakes until after he hit Michelle. It has been over a year now and still it isnt over yet. The driver stated himself that he did not see her car and therefore could not have stopped from hitting her. Now my question is if you are in a semi how can you not see that two lanes of traffic are stopped ahead of you. I dont understand that. And I am not blaming every truck driver for this, obviously. But there are truck drivers that seem to think they own the road and you better stay out of their way. I do have respect for truck drivers and all drivers for that matter and I dont intentionally pull out in front of semi's and think I can slam on my brakes in front of them and expect them to stop for me. If that was the case in this instance, it would be different. But it WASNT--this truck driver failed to stop when the rest of the traffic was stopped due to another accident. It's called negligence. There was absolutely NOWHERE for Michelle to go. That is what I am angry about. I lost my best friend because of a negligent driver and more than likely he will not be punished for it.
Cincinnati Driver

Wilmington, OH

#5 Jun 9, 2006
Please do not feel that I was meaning to belittle your great loss, or even defend the driver at fault. I also was not meaning in any way to make reference that your friend was at fault in any way. And YES! You can bet the driver WILL be punished. With the least of a lost job and or career and at the most with prison time for negligent vehicular homicide. Has any one investigated this drivers logs, hours of operation, and company records? Have they compared his pay with the hours or miles recorded in his logs? This driver, sounds like to me, must have been asleep at the wheel or extremely drowsy and lacked alertness. I know this feeling first hand by being forced to drive hours that I should be asleep. Now, I can either run my runs or quit my job. I am a single homeowner with two mortgage payments, two auto payments, credit cards, monthly home bills, pets and an invalid mother living in my home. Do you really feel I could just quit my job? These companies seek out drivers in similar circumstances like a leech seeks blood. They know that a driver bound by family and financial obligations will do what ever they want of him/her to keep the job. These greedy, unscrupulous companies are the ones that should have to stand accused along with the driver. My company even has disconnected the GPS so in the event of an accident it can not be used against them or the driver. I really wish that there was a way to force compliance with drivers and companies alike for greater safety. Perhaps in the near future, additional technological breakthroughs will be added to trucks and cars to help alert drivers of obstacles or stalled traffic on the highways, and even apply the breaks automatically if the driver fails to react in time.
I am sorry if I seemed to lecture in the wrong direction with my previous entry. I am and have been a commercial driver for over 22 years now and it seems like the truck driver is always the first to blame, sometimes justly, others not.
BekLynn

United States

#6 Jun 12, 2006
There was supposedly at least one investigation into this that has been completed. But I am not sure the extent of that investigation. I would hope that the driver's logs would have been checked. I agree that it sounds like the driver was asleep or lacked alertness or something like that. I apologize if I came across harsh previously. I tend to jump to the defense when it comes to this particular accident. At first I wanted this driver to pay tremendously for what he did and I wanted him to suffer as we have. But I know that there may be other factors to this that we are not aware of yet. And I do know that no matter what the courts do to him, he will forever have to live with the fact that he took another person's life. It was a year before we were even given the driver's name and even then it was on the local news and in the newspaper instead of Michelle's mother being contacted first with his name and his statement. This whole thing is new to me and I dont know what all happens in an investigation like this and how the legal part will play out. But I do hope that something will be done. This driver's company even declined the first settlement offer made by Michelle's mother and her attorney. And it was a VERY small figure because her mother did not want to cause any hardship for the company or the driver. Can you imagine that? A mother loses her ONLY child and doesnt want to cause any hardship for the person responsible. That right there, to me, would be enough to give her enough of a settlement so she wouldnt have to work another day of her life. But I know it doesnt work that way. And yes I am bit partial, I guess.:) I just want some kind of justice for Michelle's death and I realize that a settlement or punishment for the driver will not bring Michelle back. I want Michelle's life to be honored and for the company to decline such a SMALL amount because she was not married and had no children (that was the reason given for declining the offer) to me that says that her life was worthless. They are still waiting on this case to go to trial. Thank you for sharing on this matter. Again I apologize for coming across harshly. God Bless You, Sir. And please be careful out there.
Cincinnati Driver

Wilmington, OH

#7 Jun 16, 2006
All companies will decline any offer above $0.00. If they accept it they are admitting responsibility for the accident. This mother, I hope has a very aggressive attorney and an experienced one dealing with wrongful death cases. IF not she should fire them and retain another. This mother should not accept any offers made by this company unless the facts of the accident, i.e. the police reports, witnesses, and crime scene investigations, point to the involved commercial driver not being at fault. NEVER SIGN ANYTHING TILL IT'S OVER! Then if a company settlement is finally reached, she will need to seek civil action against the driver with a civil wrongful death suit. Regardless of whether she feels that she does not want to cause trouble, she is not. The trouble started when the accident happened. Also, what caused the vehicles to be stopped, another accident? The "at fault" parties of that accident should also be named in an additional civil suit for wrongful death and their insurance company should be contacted and sued as well. Do not think, Oh that's just crazy, no judge would... Stop there! Yes if you can imagine it or realize it, somewhere in this country a case has already been tried and won or lost. An aggressive attorney can and will find the information needed. Michelle's mother needs to be fully compensated for her great loss, there is no greater a loss than the loss of a child.
BekLynn

United States

#8 Jun 16, 2006
From what I have seen in this case--the attorney is very aggressive. Michelle's mother and other family members along with myself and my husband and Michelle's other best friend (for over a decade) and her husband all compiled a video about Michelle that her mother's attorney and Investigator put together. They said we needed to put a "face" to Michelle so the insurance isnt just looking at a name on a piece of paper. With this video we had the chance to vent and talk about our personal relationships with Michelle as long as answer some pretty rough questions about her death and the accident itself. There was another accident on I-75 a couple of miles south of Michelle that had ALL of the southbound lane at a standstill. I was heard another semi had overturned--but I dont know that for a fact or what may have caused that. There is so much construction on our part (Cook Co., Lowdnes Co.) of 75 that have caused MANY accidents and deaths in the past year or two. In some stretches of interstate there are no more emergency lanes because they are blocked off by barriers. And supposedly the wrongful death lawsuit will go to trial in the fall.
BekLynn

United States

#9 Jun 16, 2006
Sorry!! dont know why it posted twice!!
Concerned Family Member

Tifton, GA

#10 Jun 21, 2006
As an immediate family member of Michelle who was killed, I would appreciate if the details of this investigation were left out as this is very sensitive material and the case has not went to trial yet. I understand that things will be talked about, but to further this investigation and possibly win this case against the truck driver, it is better that this discussion end now to avoid controversy. I am very sensitive to material involving Michelle as we were very close. Please do not post any more information about this accident or investigation.
Regards,
RLT
BekLynn

United States

#11 Jun 26, 2006
Concerned Family Member wrote:
As an immediate family member of Michelle who was killed, I would appreciate if the details of this investigation were left out as this is very sensitive material and the case has not went to trial yet. I understand that things will be talked about, but to further this investigation and possibly win this case against the truck driver, it is better that this discussion end now to avoid controversy. I am very sensitive to material involving Michelle as we were very close. Please do not post any more information about this accident or investigation.
Regards,
RLT
I apologize for upsetting you as I was very close to Michelle too. I was not trying to post info that could damage this investigation. In the article on here that the truck driver from OH read, there was already info about the case. I was trying to get some insight from another truck driver. The truck driver from OH that I have been posting back and forth with has shed some light on what happens with drivers and their companies. I would NEVER do anything to hurt this investigation. Michelle was one of my BEST FRIENDS and I will ALWAYS stand up for her death and will voice my opinion on the cause of her death. I will also ALWAYS stand up for her family and especially her mother and what she is going through. Again, my apologies for upsetting anyone and I pray that anything I have said on this forum will not hurt this investigation or hurt any feelings of her family members.
BekLynn

United States

#12 Jun 26, 2006
One more thing---Speaking back and forth with this truck driver from OH has also helped me in voicing my feelings on losing Michelle. It has been nice to share things with someone that was not a part of this. To hear from an outside person has been very helpful. But if I would have known that I would upset someone in the family I would not have responded to this driver in the first place.
BekLynn

United States

#14 Aug 15, 2006
I will not go into details but i will say that justice has NOT been served in this case!!!!
May God help our judicial system and the "judges" that run it!!!!!
carrie

United States

#15 Oct 23, 2006
i drove a truck for many years and first of all their are many blind spots on the truck including the front.. And as far as the girl saying we need to slow down you all need to get out of the way. Cars cut truckers off not realizing when you hit your brakes it takes us a football field to stop, So when you are being ignorant and cut over just to slow down you deserve to get your ass ran over. Truck driver do think about killing people. One time i had some ass hole pull out in front of me and stop and i almost hit another car because of idiots. When the car i almost hit came around me thier was a little boy in it about 5 years old. i almost quit over it cuz i could of killed that baby. all because some ass hole cut me off. In my oppinion if you want all these big bad trucks off the road then next time you need an apple goto washington and pick it your self. Don't you realize with out trucks america stops. and it is a fact that over 90% of the accidents involving a car is the cars fault. You need to go learn how to safely drive on the road with trucks. We take many countless hours of saftey training. How many did you or michelle take. huh... And now it's the big bad truckers fault...
BekLynn

Americus, GA

#16 Oct 24, 2006
carrie wrote:
i drove a truck for many years and first of all their are many blind spots on the truck including the front.. And as far as the girl saying we need to slow down you all need to get out of the way. Cars cut truckers off not realizing when you hit your brakes it takes us a football field to stop, So when you are being ignorant and cut over just to slow down you deserve to get your ass ran over. Truck driver do think about killing people. One time i had some ass hole pull out in front of me and stop and i almost hit another car because of idiots. When the car i almost hit came around me thier was a little boy in it about 5 years old. i almost quit over it cuz i could of killed that baby. all because some ass hole cut me off. In my oppinion if you want all these big bad trucks off the road then next time you need an apple goto washington and pick it your self. Don't you realize with out trucks america stops. and it is a fact that over 90% of the accidents involving a car is the cars fault. You need to go learn how to safely drive on the road with trucks. We take many countless hours of saftey training. How many did you or michelle take. huh... And now it's the big bad truckers fault...
Okay now you need to stop right there just a damn second!!!! If you would go back and read what happened you would see that in THIS case it WAS the trucker's fault!!! Dont you dare try and say that Michelle needed to take a driver safety course!!! Traffic was stopped and this particular trucker didnt notice!!!! Go back and read the whole story before throwing your nonsense in!!! If I caused someone to die-whether driving a semi or car-I would deserve punishment for it. And this truck driver does too but so much for that!!!
BekLynn

Americus, GA

#17 Oct 24, 2006
The above comment will be the last from me on this forum--as of now I am done with this....There is no point in reading some inconsiderate and ignorant comments that will just upset me and cause me to respond and keep this forum going. It is time to heal and move on. And I hope everyone will respect this.
Truth

Phoenix, AZ

#18 Oct 31, 2006
Maybe it wouldn’t be taken so severely if all of you didn’t say truck driver like it was a racist word. You Grip and complain about truck drivers and then when someone calls you on it you whimper and say oh I only meant that this truck driver ...

The facts are that cars cause the vast majority of all vehicle accidents and they are by far the worst drivers.

Now, if you have something to say about this driver you need to not be bigoted about it. Just point out what this particular driver did, not that all truck drivers are in the wrong.

Truth be told, I'd be willing to bet that any person reading this that has even a few years driving behind them has seen a semi coming down the highway and completely ignoring common sense, pulled out in front of them. All in the name of saving a few minutes. Then, cussing as the driver comes up on your bumper trying to stop before he runs over your retarded ass.
Truck Driver Mason OH

Maineville, OH

#19 Dec 31, 2007
I am concerned about the evident outcome of this case, would you contact me personally? My email is e-Bayer@cinci.rr.com
Thank you.
Truck Driver Mason OH

Maineville, OH

#20 Dec 31, 2007
carrie wrote:
i drove a truck for many years and first of all their are many blind spots on the truck including the front.. And as far as the girl saying we need to slow down you all need to get out of the way. Cars cut truckers off not realizing when you hit your brakes it takes us a football field to stop, So when you are being ignorant and cut over just to slow down you deserve to get your ass ran over. Truck driver do think about killing people. One time i had some ass hole pull out in front of me and stop and i almost hit another car because of idiots. When the car i almost hit came around me thier was a little boy in it about 5 years old. i almost quit over it cuz i could of killed that baby. all because some ass hole cut me off. In my oppinion if you want all these big bad trucks off the road then next time you need an apple goto washington and pick it your self. Don't you realize with out trucks america stops. and it is a fact that over 90% of the accidents involving a car is the cars fault. You need to go learn how to safely drive on the road with trucks. We take many countless hours of saftey training. How many did you or michelle take. huh... And now it's the big bad truckers fault...
Don't be ignorant driver unless that is all you can be! You clearly did not even take the time to read what was going on causing this fatality.
However, in your defence, you are correct about the careless, selfish, reckless automobile drivers out there. The increase of bad drivers on American highways can only be blamed on the fact that driver's education is no longer a semester long course offered in High Schools today. It is absolutely amazing that this country believes a teen-ager can learn all they need to know about driving in a private two hour a day, two days a week, for two weeks driver's training course. When I went to High School, Driver's Education was a full semester, approximately six weeks for almost an hour a day. We were subjected to books, movies, and even a mobile driving simulator, then the last two weeks of actual on the road, behind the wheel training. We were educated about highway courtesy and the proper techniques of driving on American highways and around all types of traffic and a special week long subject matter regarding driving around eighteen wheelers.
Today's new drivers lack of education, lack of courtesy, bad attitude, constant cell phone use, and failure to realize the difference between virtual and actual reality is the cause of so many bad drivers on today's highways and cause of so many accidents.
NOTE: This does not apply to this case!
Pat- in- Tifton-Ga

Athens, GA

#21 Feb 25, 2008
Michelle was my daughters best friend and she was the sweetest person anyone could ever hope to meet. As for the truck drivers response. You are so stupid. You had plenty of time to stop your 18 wheeler, 4 wheeler or what ever you want to call it. You just simply did not read all the signs way before you got to that point. Had you been a very conscientious driver you would have been reading all the warning signs way before you caused this tragic accident. He should be punished to the full maximum or better yet, put him in a room with all Michelle's friends, family, etc. and let them deal with him. But then that would not even be good enough. He should his license taken away, locked behind bars for the rest of his miserable life.

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