Rhonda Claridy, Shaw Lathal Injured in Truck Accident in Guernsey County, OH
Guernsey County, OH -- January 25, 2022, Rhonda Claridy and Shaw Lathal were injured due to an accident where a truck crashed into a firetruck.
Investigators said that the crash took place along the side of I-70 near mile marker 196 at around 2:43 a.m.
According to reports, 64-year-old Rhonda Claridy and 27-year-old Shaw Lathal were in a Ford Focus traveling along the interstate when police say Claridy failed to maintain control of the vehicle for unknown reasons. The Ford crashed along the side of the highway. Sometime later, EMS showed up, and a firetruck blocked off the area around the crash. While on the side of the road, police say a semi-truck going at an unsafe speed crashed into the firetruck, forcing Claridy, Lathal, and emergency responders at the scene over a guardrail.
After the crash, both Claridy and Lathal were sent to area hospitals. Their conditions are unclear at this time, and it's unclear which crash caused their injuries. Police cited both Claridy and the truck driver for the separate collisions. No further information is currently available.
Commentary on Rhonda Claridy, Shaw Lathal Truck Accident in Guernsey County
A crash like this presents some unique and complex legal issues that not a lot of folks have experience with. Put simply, there were two separate collisions here, and drivers claim that both drivers engaged in negligent behavior. So who would be responsible for the injuries in that situation? Well, I can't speak on this specific accident with more evidence. But when there are two separate collisions, it's important to have a concrete chain of events leading to the victims' injuries.
Here's what I mean by that. If someone crashes along the highway, then they're hit by a semi-truck, there are a few likely scenarios. One is that the initial crash made the second crash inevitable, in which case the second driver likely wouldn't be responsible for being involved in a crash they couldn't avoid. Alternatively, if the initial crash happened some time before the second one, and that vehicle was clearly visible and avoidable, then the second driver would likely be on the hook for being negligent even if the first driver also made a mistake.
But in both of those scenarios, investigators would also need to determine what injuries resulted from which collision. If a truck driver crashes into a previous crash scene, but there is evidence to show that the first crash is what caused the injuries, it's unlikely the truck driver would ultimately be on the hook even if they did something wrong. But if the evidence shows the victims were fine right up until the truck then crashed into the accident scene, then it's possible whatever negligent actions the victims engaged in wouldn't be important to the overall conclusion that the second collision was avoidable and the proximate cause of their injuries.
Again, I can't say at this stage how avoidable all of this was, what caused the two accidents, or how significant all the events were in the victims' injuries. All I can say is that 30 years of experience with commercial vehicle wrecks taught me that there should be a thorough accident reconstruction into situations like this to sort out all the details. Getting people the help they need means having the evidence to tell the full story of what went wrong.