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Three-year-old killed in I-95 tractor-trailer crash


Posted on Jan 05, 2010

A little boy lost his life and his family members were injured when their family van was hit by a speeding semi-truck.
 
The deadly accident occurred on Sunday, December 27. The Thornton family of Pittsburg was traveling in a 2007 Toyota Sienna on the southbound lane of I-95 in McIntosh County. Witnesses say that the tractor-trailer was speeding before it struck the back of the van.
 
The collision with the 18-wheeler pushed the vehicle onto the shoulder of the interstate downing several trees. It took almost two hours and three sets of Jaws of Life to remove the victims from the wrecked vehicles.
 
Three-year-old Sean Thornton was pronounced dead at the scene. His mother, Susan Thornton, is in critical condition. Another child was seriously injured. Daniel Thornton and the third child sustained minor injuries.  
 
The driver of the big-rig, Willie Hill of Jacksonville, Florida, was hospitalized with a broken pelvis and leg. Charges are pending against the driver.
 
Large trucks are involved in eight percent of fatal crashes. A fully-loaded semi-truck can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. It is no surprise that 98% of the fatalities in these crashes are to the occupants of passenger vehicles.
 
Many drivers speed or drive while tired because of company pressure to deliver their load on time. Because trucks are so dangerous and drivers are under pressure, there are strict federal regulations that govern the trucking industry.  When an accident occurs, an investigation is made to be sure these rules are not broken.

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Shane Smith
Advocate for the Seriously Injured in Georgia