A fatal accident claimed the life of an 86-year-old woman last week after her vehicle collided with an 18-wheeler on a highway in Lacombe, Louisiana. The driver of the 18-wheeler was arrested by Louisiana State Troopers for allegedly causing the accident by attempting to make an illegal U-turn on a curve. The woman suffered severe injuries as a result of the 18-wheeler accident and was pronounced dead at the scene. The out-of-state truck driver was unharmed.

Both of the drivers were wearing seat belts. The driver of the 18-wheeler, who was apparently not intoxicated at the time of the accident, has been booked on charges of negligent homicide and prohibited turning in a curve. If convicted, he could spend up to five years in prison and be subject to a $5,000 fine.

Louisiana law prohibits drivers from performing U-turns in a curve where the turning vehicle cannot be seen by drivers approaching from either direction within 500 feet. According to Louisiana State Troopers, many car crashes in the state are caused by simple disregard for traffic safety laws. It is not known if the driver, who was from Georgia, was unfamiliar with Louisiana highway laws, but it is certainly within the realm of possibility that he may have been confused by driving in an unfamiliar area and felt compelled to make a U-turn in order to get to his destination.

If the allegations are true, the victim’s family may be able to recover civil damages from the driver with a wrongful death action. Wrongful death damages in this case could include the following compensatory damages: funeral expenses, loss of retirement benefits, loss of future earnings if the victim was employed, and loss of companionship.

Source: nola.com, “18-wheeler’s improper U-turn attempt caused fatal crash in Lacombe, State Police allege,” Ramon Antonio Vargas, Feb. 23, 2012