Tow Truck Driver Arrested For DUI and Manslaughter After Fatal Collision In East Garden City, Uniondale Along Stewart Avenue
NASSAU COUNTY, NEW YORK (November 9, 2021) – A man has tragically died in a car accident with an allegedly intoxicated tow truck driver along Stewart Avenue in East Garden City.
Nassau County officials are saying that the accident took place around 4:00 p.m. on Monday, November 8th. A tow truck driver was going down Stewart Avenue when they slammed into an SUV.
The tow truck kept traveling before hitting a van and coming to rest. Firefighters and paramedics were called to the scene of the collision in order to help all of the victims.
A 54-year-old woman and a 16-year-old boy inside the SUV were treated for their injuries. Despite life-saving measures from first responders, a man driving the van died from his injuries.
Police arrested the driver of the tow truck on suspicion of DUI and vehicular manslaughter. The tow truck driver is expected back in court on Friday.
Liability In East Garden City Tow Truck Accidents
Operating a tow truck can be dangerous for everyone involved. According to one report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the rate of fatal collisions in the tow truck industry was 43 deaths per 100,000 workers. That is substantially higher than other industries where the death per 100,000 workers is about 3. Tow trucks are also heavier than most passenger vehicles and take much longer to stop. There are a number of factors that can make tow trucks quite dangerous for pedestrians and other people in passenger vehicles.
- Fatigue: Tow truck drivers are put under an enormous amount of stress to complete their jobs as quickly as possible. Many drivers naturally become fatigued.
- Intoxication: Alcohol is not the only substance that can intoxicate drivers. Many drivers can become intoxicated with prescription or over-the-counter medications. It’s always best to consult with a doctor about how a new prescription may affect your driving.
- Driver Inexperience: Driving a tow truck is much different from driving a passenger vehicle. If a tow truck driver does not get the proper training this could easily contribute to an accident.
Tow truck drivers with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of over 26,000 lbs will need a commercial driver’s license in New York. Commercial driver’s license holders are held to a high standard in terms of safety. Certain traffic violations can jeopardize a person’s ability to maintain their CDL. For example, there are a number of regulations with respect to consuming alcohol and drugs while working. It is illegal to operate a commercial vehicle with a BAC of 0.04% or higher. This compares to 0.08% for drivers of passenger vehicles. Commercial drivers are not even allowed to start their shift with a BAC of 0.02% or higher.
If a tow truck driver caused a fatal accident while intoxicated, they can be charged with manslaughter. According to New York Penal Law § 125.13, a person can be charged with vehicular manslaughter in the first degree if they caused the death of another person while driving and: (a) had a BAC of 0.18 or (b) they caused the death of more than one person or (c) had their driver privileges suspended in another state due to a DUI. There are three other conditions that could be met in the statute.
In addition to facing criminal charges, a tow truck driver can be held accountable through a civil claim. Many intoxicated drivers are also speeding prior to a crash. Pursuant to New York Vehicle & Traffic Law § 1180, no person shall operate a motor vehicle at a speed greater than what would be reasonable under the prevailing conditions of the roadway. Depending on the specific facts of any case, liability for an accident could extend beyond any driver.
If a tow truck driver was working at the time of an accident, the company that they were working for could be held at fault. Generally speaking, companies can be held liable for the negligent actions of their employees – insofar as those negligent actions were reasonably foreseeable and a natural consequence of a worker’s job duties. A company could also be held liable for an accident if they negligently hired a worker by failing to vet their credentials. For example, a bicyclist recently died in Queens after they were hit by an unlicensed truck driver. There are a number of steps that should be taken after any tow truck accident.
- Surveillance footage of the accident should be sought.
- Eye witnesses should be interviewed.
- Medical records should be preserved.
- Work records of the tow truck driver should be examined.
The family of any victim that died in a tow truck accident may be able to seek justice through a wrongful death claim. Damages in a civil claim can help cover lost wages, medical bills and funeral costs. Punitive awards could also be given if the defendants conduct was particularly egregious. Sadly, though, companies will fight extremely hard to deny liability for an accident. A wrongful death attorney can examine all of the specific facts of your case free of cost and let you know what your legal options are.
Investigating An Uniondale Tow Truck Accident
We at Gersowitz Libo & Korek, P.C. extend our deepest condolences to the man who died in this East Garden City collision. It is our sincere hope that the two victims in the SUV will be able to make a full recovery. What has been reported thus far by the press is deeply disturbing. There needs to be a thorough investigation into how this took place.
This accident raises a number of safety concerns. Did this tow truck driver have the proper license and certifications? What were the circumstances leading up to the crash? Were they working at the time of the collision? It is our sincere hope that measures will be considered to help prevent additional tragedies like this.