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New Orleans driver charged after fatal tanker truck accident

New Orleans residents may have seen headlines about the fiery collision between an SUV and an 18-wheeler in the St. Roch area. Police believe the 33-year-old woman driving the SUV was going the wrong way on a one-way street at about 2:30 a.m. when her vehicle hit the truck, which was hauling an 8,500-gallon fuel tank.

The initial collision is believed to have destroyed one of the 18-wheeler's tires, causing the driver to lose control. The truck then struck a concrete column in the parking lot of a gas station, and a fire was ignited in the cab before the flames spread to the tanker. The truck driver was unable to escape, and he died at the scene.  

The SUV driver left the site of the fatal accident before talking to police, though authorities were able to locate her at her home. She reportedly contacted police not long after the accident. Her breath and blood were tested, but there was no word as to whether she was intoxicated at the time of the crash.

It was reported that the SUV driver said she left the scene because she feared for her safety.

Drivers of all motor vehicles have an obligation to remain on the scene after a serious accident. In this case, the SUV driver who is believed to have caused the collision is now charged with negligent homicide. The deceased truck driver's family may also have grounds to bring a civil claim of wrongful death.

In any case, families that have lost a loved one because of another party's negligence should be aware of their legal options.

Source: The Times-Picayune, "Driver involved in fatal crash arrested on negligent homicide charge, NOPD says," Naomi Martin, Oct. 3, 2014

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