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Elementary student killed by tractor-trailer

A 7-year-old Sampson County, North Carolina, girl is dead after she was plowed over by a tractor--trailer carrying logs outside her home. The girl was getting off the school bus at the end of the day when the truck accident occurred, according to local authorities. The driver in the case has been charged with a variety of offenses following the incident. The collision occurred just north of Harrells, a small town about an hour southeast of Fayetteville.

Authorities report that the elementary school student was struck when the truck driver swerved to go around a stopped school bus. The girl was hit on U.S. 421 at about 3:45 p.m. on April 26. The driver has been declared an “imminent hazard” by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. He is currently prohibited from operating a commercial vehicle.

Records show that the driver in this case had a history of criminal convictions, including recent charges for misdemeanor larceny and misdemeanor possession of stolen goods. As recently as April 17, the driver was cited by the Highway Patrol for not driving with a valid commercial license; he had since obtained proper documentation. The driver has been formally charged with driving while impaired in a commercial vehicle, felony hit—and--run, felony passing a school bus and involuntary manslaughter.

Federal investigators say they have launched a formal inquiry into the matter, and they are questioning the procedures and policies at Ricky Lucas Trucking, the company that employs the driver.

Family members in this case could pursue a significant civil case against both the driver and the trucking company that employs him. Claims could be entered for wrongful death, pain and suffering, emotional distress and loss of consort, among others. Relatives could earn a larger settlement by pursuing claims against both the individual driver and the company; trucking companies generally have a higher overall value than their individual workers, providing opportunities to recover more funds.

Source:  fayobserver.com, "Truck driver charged in Sampson County girl's death declared 'imminent hazard' by federal agency" Caitlin Dineen, Apr. 28, 2013

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