Bernice Rostocki, from Latham, Died In Head-On Semi-Truck Collision On I-90 By Exit 25
ALBANY COUNTY, NEW YORK (October 22, 2021) – A driver identified as Bernice Rostocki has tragically died in a semi-truck accident on Interstate 90 not far from Exit 25.
Albany County police officials are saying that the accident took place around 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, October 21st. A woman driving a truck lost control of the motor vehicle after driving over rumble strips in the roadway. Rumble strips are a road safety feature to alert inattentive drivers of potential dangers. She overcompensated while trying to put the truck within the lane of traffic.
She crossed through the center median and through a guardrail before hitting a Toyota Rav4 driven by Bernice Rostocki. Firefighters and paramedics were called to the scene of the collision in order to help all of those that were injured.
The driver of the truck was taken to the Albany Medical Center for drug testing and then released. Paramedics attempted to save Bernice Rostocki, but she was pronounced dead at the scene.
A full investigation into the crash remains ongoing at this time.
Liability In Albany Truck Accidents
Nearly 4,000 people are killed every year in accidents with commercial trucks, according to the FMCSA. Events that could contribute to a truck accident may take place hours, weeks or months prior to a crash. They include and are not limited to fatigue, alcohol and speeding. Handling a truck is substantially different from driving a passenger vehicle. An inexperienced truck driver could easily make a mistake that could cost someone their life.
- A fully loaded semi-truck can take the length of two football fields to come to a complete stop. An inexperienced truck driver may not know this.
- Trucks are top heavy and can easily jack-knife or become unstable. Many collisions are due to inexperienced drivers that overcompensate while trying to correct the truck’s trajectory.
- Truck’s have large blind spots. Failing to check those blind spots can easily lead to an accident.
Truck drivers in New York must get a commercial driver’s license (CDL) and undergo special training. They are expected to operate their vehicle with the utmost caution on public roads and are held to a high standard in terms of safety. Under New York Vehicle & Traffic Law § 1163, “No person shall turn a vehicle at an intersection […] or move right or left upon a roadway unless and until such movement can be made with reasonable safety.” Drivers that cross center medians into oncoming traffic will nearly always be deemed at fault for a collision.
Depending on the facts of any case, liability for a collision could extend to a municipal entity. Municipal entities in New York must maintain roadways in a reasonably safe condition. When a city receives a written notice of a potentially dangerous condition with the roadway, they must study the problem and update the roadway to conform with acceptable design standards if necessary.
For example, a dangerous condition could be created by a city’s failure to install median barriers in areas of roadway with a high occurrence of cross traffic. See, for example, Friedman v. State of New York and Muller v State of New York. Many highways either lack barriers or they have flimsy wooden-beam guardrails that don’t work well at preventing head-on collisions. Sturdy concrete pillars work well at preventing cross-over accidents.
In Friedman v. State of New York the appellate division of the Supreme Court of New York stated that certain cross-over accidents are foreseeable. Per the court’s ruling, “We find no merit to the State’s additional contentions that the accident was not foreseeable and that in any event the State’s negligence was not a proximate cause of the accident. […] the possibility of injuries resulting from cars crossing the median certainly was foreseeable.” Indeed, the state of New York knew about such accidents since 1973, a full five years before the accident in question. After any accident there are many steps that should be taken.
- Photos of the accident site should be captured.
- Surveillance footage should be sought.
- A truck driver should be interviewed and potentially tested for drugs.
- A truck driver’s work records should be examined.
- Medical records should be preserved.
The family of any victim that died in a truck accident may be able to seek justice through a wrongful death claim. A wrongful death claim must be preceded by a wrongful act, neglect or default which would have entitled a person to pursue a civil claim had they survive the accident. A New York truck accident attorney can examine all of the facts of your case free of cost and let you know what your legal options are. There are, however, statute of limitations associated with civil claims.
Investigating An Albany Truck Accident
We at Gersowitz Libo & Korek, P.C. extend our deepest condolences to the family of Bernice Rostocki. Any person that may have information about what happened should reach out to police. This was a highly preventable tragedy that should have never taken place. Did this truck driver receive proper training? Was the truck in this crash well-maintained? Was the company that owned this truck compliant with Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations? Far too often, fatigued or inexperienced truck drivers make dangerous maneuvers that lead to crashes.
Do you need more information about an accident that took place in Albany? Our team of personal injury attorneys are here to answer any questions that you may have. We care deeply that accident victims are aware of their rights and that those rights and that those rights are being protected. Whether you just have legal questions or need an investigation into a collision we are here for you. You’re always welcome to reach out to us anytime at (516) 908-9792.