Posted On: June 2, 2010 by Ryan Bradley

Tractor trailer crash near Herculaneum kills two

Photo by KMOV-TV

A terrible Missouri tractor trailer crash occurred Wednesday afternoon on Interstate 55 leaving two people dead and another five with significant injuries.

The accident took place at the McNutt Street exit near Herculaneum. According to the initial crash report on file with the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the driver of the tractor trailer was Jay Valentine, 32. He was driving northbound on I-55 and approached a line of cars that had stopped due to traffic congestion. Valentine became distracted, according to media reports, and didn't see the traffic ahead until he was too close to stop. He attempted to avoid a collision by quickly changing lanes, but he still plowed through the back end of several vehicles. In all, seven other vehicles besides the tractor trailer were involved in this fatal St. Louis area truck accident.

Charles Martin, 52, was driving a Ford Focus which was one of the cars first hit by the big rig. The car was dragged the length of a football field and completely devastated. Martin was pronounced dead at the scene.

The other fatality was Alana McKnight, 28, another driver in the line of cars. Her car was struck in the chain reaction that ensued after the initial crash. She was rushed to a local hospital for emergency treatment, but was unable to recover.

There were five others listed as injured on the report: Cathy Hawn, 53; Terry Hawn, 58; Alice Falk, 79; Mary Davis, 65; and Mark London, 51.

Our thoughts are with the families of the deceased and with the injured parties still making a recovery. Hopefully they will be able to fully heal their injures and not be left with any permanent disabilities.

The tractor trailer appeared to belong to a trucking company call Western Express, Inc. This large company, based out of Nashville, has been involved in over 100 serious injury accidents in the past couple years. Six of these accidents resulted in fatalities.

An investigation into this incident is ongoing and could take weeks to complete. Until then, we won't have a detailed description of how this crash occurred, but officials at the scene have been quoted as saying the truck driver was distracted and looking to the right just before the wreck. A full investigation will also be able to determine if any motor carrier regulations were violated.

Since these types of accidents can become incredibly complicated from a legal standpoint, it is often advisable to seek a professional consultation from a Missouri personal injury attorney before talking to the insurance companies.