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Alleged gross negligence leads to truck accident fatality

It is always sad to lose a loved one in an accident. It may be even sadder when the accident could have been prevented, or was due to gross negligence.

An accident involving a truck which lost part of its cargo, resulted in the serious injury of a woman driving a minivan and her two children, as well as the death of her mother who was a passenger. The family of the 70-year-old woman who died has filed a wrongful death law suit against National Grid; the trucking company which they claim caused the fatal accident.

The accident occurred last August on Interstate 495 in Southborough. The driver of a National Grid truck lost control of his truck and a 17,000 pound backhoe became unattached. Attempting to avoid the unfettered backhoe sent the minivan crashing down an embankment.

 The 70-year-old passenger died of crush injuries. The driver had a severe back injury and her two children were injured, as well as understandably upset at witnessing their grandmother's death.

The family claims that the accident was due to National Grid's substitution of 6-wheeled trucks to tow heavy equipment rather than the standard 10-wheeled trucks. When drivers complained of the lack of control on hills, National Grid pulled the 6-wheeled trucks from towing duties for heavy equipment.

However, according to the lawsuit, a foreman was instructed to test drive one of the 6-wheeled trucks while pulling a backhoe on a heavily traveled road. It was that test drive which resulted in the accident with the minivan.

The family claimed that it was gross negligence to send a test driver out after the warnings from the other drivers and considering the traffic that could be encountered.

National Grid has apologized to the family. There was no word in the news report about a potential trial date or settlement offer.

Source: MSNBC, "National Grid sued over fatal highway accident," Denise Lavoie, April 19, 2012

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