In October of 2001, four people were killed in a truck accident when an eighteen-wheeler crossed the median and slammed into a family’s minivan. Alton Williams was driving a Salvation Army truck when his hat flew out the window. In an attempt to recover the hat, Mr. Williams quickly changed lanes. However, when he changed lanes, Mr. Williams pulled in front of an 18-wheeler driven by Edward Trusclair. At the time, Mr. Trusclair, an employee of Divinity Transport, was driving approximately 25 mph over the 45 mph speed limit. Mr. Trusclair hit the Salvation Army truck, careened across the median and hit the family’s minivan. The impact killed Angela Gauthier, 36, Claire Gauthier, 3, Brennan Odendahl, 3, and Linda Landry 56. Parker Evans, 2 and Lyndon Pace 2, survived the accident.
Following trial, the jury found that Trusclair and Divinity Transport were 60 percent responsible for the accident. As a result of the plaintiffs’ significant losses, the jury awarded the plaintiffs $6.9 million. Trusclair and Divinity Transport will have to pay 60 percent of the award, $4.1 million. Salvation Army settled the matter before trial.