Stanley, ND — A fatal accident along U.S. Highway 2 near Stanley last Friday morning (June 21, 2013) left a total of three men dead and three injured, though no names have been released. The accident happened east of Stanley and involved two 18-wheelers and three pickup trucks. The deceased were identified only as a 41-year old Minot man, a 26-year old Mahpeton man, and a 23-year old man.
According to the news reports, an eastbound 18-wheeler tanker truck was being driven by 49-year old Vernon Wright along U.S. Highway 2 at about 6:40 a.m. last Friday, about 3 miles east of Stanley. As he tried to make a left turn onto 79th Avenue, Wright turned into the path of 54-year old Ricky Hovland’s westbound pickup truck.
The two trucks collided, sending Hovland’s truck into a ditch. A Chevrolet truck behind Hovland’s then crashed into Wright’s 18-wheeler, and both of those vehicles were then struck by a second 18-wheeler driven by 55-year old John Ofsthun. A third GMC pickup truck headed west on U.S. Highway 2 crashed into the wreckage as well.
Troopers said that the drivers of the GMC and Chevrolet pickup trucks were killed in the accident, as well as a 23-year old male passenger in the GMC truck. Hovland, Ofsthun, and Wright were all injured and taken to area hospitals in various conditions.
The cause of the accident and the identities of the victim have not been released yet. Heavy fog is believed to be a factor in the wreck.
Scene of the Accident
This is a large-scale accident and may come as a shock to those who are outside of the litigation process, but this type of accident is not at all uncommon in reality. I would recommend that an investigation be started early here, because with so many vehicles being involved and the weather condition, the division of liability is going to be tricky to determine. In most cases, trucking companies will try to employ the “Act of God” defense when they feel that an accident was beyond their driver’s control, and I would not be surprised if this fog is used as an excuse. While driving conditions may have been dismal, commercial truck drivers are trained to take evasive and defensive measures (or stop altogether) to avoid this exact scenario. There’s really no excuse for driving faster than conditions allow or even following too closely if visibility is reduced. My thoughts are with the families of the victims.
– Grossman Law Offices