On June 12th, two of our truck driving brothers died in a fiery head on crash on I-581 in Roanoke, VA, a road that I travel often.  However, the whole thing could've been avoided if the car driver wasn't driving drunk.  Ironically, that person lived. 

The man who caused the crash was legally drunk and driving his Ford Taurus north on the interstate when his vehicle came into contact with a north bound tractor trailer.  According to news reports, the truck driver manuevered to avoid the drunk driver, but in doing so, lost control and crossed the median and struck a south bound tractor trailer head on at highway speeds.  Both truck drivers died at the scene and the drunk driver survived and has been charged with DUI and involuntary manslaughter.  Both men were husbands, fathers, fellow drivers and will be missed.

I'm sure the whole incident happened in a blink of the eye.  There were no decisions of what to do, only reactions.  I don't want to second guess the north bound truck driver, but a Ford Taurus cannot force a truck across the median.  It is my opinion that the truck driver made an attempt to save the life of the Taurus driver, but the action caused him and another truck driver not even involved in the intial crash to be killed.  We've heard of this before; motorists will swerve to hit a deer and then lose control, hit a tree and lose their life. 

This is a subject that I've talked with other drivers about as well. We all have opinions on how we would've handled this situation, however we really don't know how we'll react until the situation arises.  Military and first responders make life or death decisions every day.  They train on worst case scenarios so when and if the time comes, they can react in the best way possible.  As professional drivers, we can learn from that example by running the scenarios through our minds and choosing how we'll react when faced with a possible tragedy.  Be safe.

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Joey Slaughter

Joey Slaughter is the owner of Blue Ridge Transport, LLC. Joey has been in the trucking industry since 1992.

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Well said Craig.

June 29, 2013 17:54:34 PM

It is truly a tragedy and what makes it even worse is that many times in situations of this nature the drunk driver lives and the innocent die. I hope the families affected can find ways to get through this difficult time.

June 29, 2013 14:33:15 PM

Thanks guys. I just spent a week at a Boy Scout Camp here in Virginia with the son of one of the truck drivers involved. Very sad indeed.

June 29, 2013 13:44:39 PM

just sad-and so preventable

June 28, 2013 20:39:28 PM

So many lives changed in such a small amount of time.

June 28, 2013 9:49:03 AM

Great article Joey, a perfect example of the ripple effect of the decisions we make every day. My thoughts and prayers to the families of the drivers that lost their lives that day.

June 28, 2013 8:14:41 AM