A truck driver has been charged with vehicular manslaughter for a 2015 crash caused by a tire blowout that killed a seven year old girl.
Blown Steer Tire Results In Deadly Head On Crash
The crash took place on November 24, 2015, on I-15 in Idaho. Truck driver Terry Laeger, 61, was traveling southbound when his driver’s side steer tire underwent “catastrophic failure”, according to Idaho state police. Unable to control the truck, Laeger crossed the median into the northbound lanes and collided head on with a minivan carrying a family of five.
Seven year old Madelyn Holbrook was killed in the crash. Her mother and three siblings were all treated at the hospital for injuries.
Laeger was not seriously hurt.
Idaho State Police determined that it was equipment failure and not driver error that caused the crash.
Investigators Say Trucker Was At Fault For Low Tire Tread Depth
After a year long process of submitting reports for expert review, investigators officially charged Laeger with misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter after it was determined that the tread of several of his truck’s tires (including the one that blew) was below inspection standards.
Police took portions of the blown tire from the crash scene as evidence and say that they were able to determine that the tread in some areas was below 2/32 of an inch. It is a violation of state law to have tire tread depth of less than 4/32 of an inch.
Bingham County Prosecutor Cleve Colson said that he elected to charge Laeger rather than the company that he worked for because it is the driver’s responsibility to inspect his own vehicle and ensure that it is safe to drive.
Laeger could face up to a year in prison or a $2000 fine.