• May 17, 2017

Michael Bricker, Elise Spennati, Cole Spennati, Aila Spennati, Fianni Spennati Killed in Lumberton, NC, Accident

Lumberton, NC -- May 16, 2017, Michael Bricker, Elise Spennati, Cole Spennati, Aila Spennati, and Fianni Spennati were killed in an 18-wheeler accident.

The North Carolina State Police were called to the multi-vehicle accident at around 1:00 p.m. The crash took place just north of the South Carolina border, near the intersection of I-95 and Raynham Road.

According to preliminary details, traffic was backed up on the interstate due to construction. During this time, a collision somehow occurred which involved at least three 18-wheelers and three passenger vehicles.

One of the trucks, a semi-tanker, suddenly caught on fire. The driver of that tanker, 68-year-old Bricker, died in the accident. The Spennati family, from Goose Creek, all died in the accident as well. They were identified as 32-year-old Elise, 25-year-old Cole, 4-year-old Aila, and 1-year-old Fianni.

Several other people were seriously injured in the crash as well. Authorities identified them as Javier Estrada-Beltran, 46, Francisco Morales-Gaspar, 35, Lucia de la Cruz, 34, and Marry Ann Payne, 68. They were all taken to nearby hospitals for treatment. Two others were treated at the scene.

The factors leading to the accident have not yet been determined. Police continue their investigations.

Map of the Area

Commentary

It never gets easier reading about these kinds of accidents. Crashes involving this level of chaos and destruction aren't all that common, but I've seen a lot of them over the years, and they always bring a litany of hardships for those affected. Something which I know needs to be addressed here is just how important is is to conduct a thorough investigation as soon as possible. And I'm not referring to waiting for police investigations. I'm talking about having the accident examined by an experienced private investigator independent of the police.

What many people have learned first-hand after these sorts of accidents is that when they or someone they know is involved in such a complex accident, police investigations simply don't provide the in-depth examination necessary to uncover all of the facts regarding the cause of the crash. Police reports tend to outline a basic fact pattern of what occurred rather than the subtle yet crucial details--telling us the whats and wheres, but lacking on the whys and hows. It's comparable to a book report; it's an entire novel's worth of information condensed into a short, basic summary. Quite frankly, most police departments simply don't have the time, experience, or resources necessary for investigating the carnage of a fiery, half-a-dozen-vehicle accident involving several commercial trucks.

Understand that I don't mean this as a slight against the police. The fact of the matter is that an accident this complex requires the experience of a dedicated industry professional who has made a career out of investigating these types of accidents. Similar to how people who receive serious news from a doctor often seek a second opinion from a specialist. It isn't an insult to the first doctor's abilities, but rather the acknowledgement that such a serious event warrants at least a second set of eyes. An independent professional will know exactly what they're looking for and all of the possible factors which can help determine the cause of the incident--vehicle maintenance, tire conditions, electronic control module data, where each vehicle was during the crash, how fast each vehicle was traveling, the weight of the trucks' cargo, etc. They will also have cutting-edge laser mapping technology and accident simulation software to bring clarity to a chaotic accident scene.

Why do these accidents demand these kinds of resources? Because the most important thing for victims and their family members, perhaps just as important as getting justice, is finding out the truth about how a loved one was killed or injured.

--Grossman Law Offices

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