Pickup Truck Collides With Backhoe; Kills One

Pickup Truck Collides With Backhoe; Kills One

Three other people were also seriously injured in the vehicle wreck that occurred on the eastbound Cumberland Parkway near Fishing Creek Bridge.

According to the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office, 55-year old David Perry, of Collierville, Tenn., was driving a 2011 Ford pickup when he collided with a Kentucky Highway Department backhoe. Mr. Perry was rushed to a nearby hospital, along with 22-year-old Shannon Acosta and 24-year-old Brandon Perry, both of Anchorage, Ala.; Brandon Perry was subsequently pronounced dead at the hospital.

The backhoe operator, 53-yer-old Joel Haste, was also seriously injured in the vehicle wreck. It was not immediately clear where the vehicle was parked.

Government-Involved Negligence

At common law, victims could not sue leaders or bureaucrats, because of sovereign immunity. This concept came from the ancient and long-since-debunked “divine right of kings.” The theory was that rulers had special divine favor and therefore could never be wrong. However, Kentucky has partially waived its sovereign immunity in several key areas.

  • Vehicle Wrecks: If a government employee was negligent in operating a vehicle, the government is probably still liable for damages, as illustrated below.
  • Ministerial Act: Some activities require no forethought or discretion; for example, law enforcement officers always must give emergency medical treatment to arrested individuals and maintenance crews must always keep the roads in reasonably good shape.
  • Excessive Force: Similarly, no police officers can use excessive force in their contacts with civilians, because such behavior is a clear violation of Constitutional rights and federal law.

Back to vehicle wrecks. It appears that the back hoe operator negligently parked the backhoe either in the traffic lane or very near the right-of-way on the shoulder. As it is illegal to park a motor vehicle (and that includes a backhoe) in this way, it appears that the backhoe driver may have been responsible for the vehicle wreck, even though the pickup rear-ended the backhoe.

Injured victims have one year to file cases with the Kentucky Board of Claims, which will then investigate the case and make any settlement offer it deems appropriate. In some cases, victims can appeal to civil court.

Contributory Negligence

In many rear-end collisions, the drivers are negotiating a curve or moving up a hill so they do not see the vehicles ahead of them. This is especially true on rural roads with high speed limits. In these situations, the jury must examine the facts and divide liability on a percentage basis.

Kentucky is one of only twelve pure comparative fault states, so judges in the Bluegrass State divide damages proportionally based on fault, if both drivers contributed to the vehicle wreck. So, in the above story, if the jury concluded that the pickup driver and backhoe operator were each 50 percent negligent, the victims would recover half the damages assessed.

Vehicle wrecks cause serious injuries and major damages. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Leitchfield, contact Attorney Gary S. Logsdon today, because you have a limited amount of time to act.