Judge Rules In Favor Of Driver’s Widow Who Died In Fiery Crash With Other Truck

Injured Truck Driver Awarded $5.5 Million

According to PennLive, a federal judge has ruled in favor of the widow of a truck driver who died four years ago in a fiery crash between two trucks in Lebanon County, Pennsylvania.

At approximately 3:00 a.m, on Nov. 13, 2009, PVR Transport driver Sukhwinder Singh was driving on Interstate 78.  Singh, who had just received his CDL a month prior, missed his exit and pulled onto the shoulder of the road.

Investigators said that when Singh reentered the interstate, he did not signal or look for on-coming traffic.

A truck driven by Eric Claxton, 36, slammed into the back of Singh’s truck as it was reentering the highway.

Claxton died at the scene, and his co-driver, Eric  Burks, 44, suffered severe burns on over 77% of his body.  He died a month later.

Claxton left behind a wife and 4 children and Burks left behind a wife and 2 children.

An attorney for Claxton’s widow said that Singh had just passed his CDL, after having failed the written exam twice and the driving exam once. 

Singh is a native of India and spoke no English– which is a requirement for all CDL holders in the U.S (*§391.11 of the FMCSR ).  He was trained at a driving school that has an “F-rating” from the Better Business Bureau.  The attorney said that Singh received no additional training at PVR.  Singh was on his first trip from California to Connecticut.  

U.S. Middle District Senior Judge William W. Caldwell ruled in favor of Claxton’s widow, Kamilah Clayton.

Six months ago, a judge awarded Burks’ family $2.3 million.

Next month, a hearing will be held to determine how much the Claxtons will be awarded.

*§391.11…a person is qualified to drive a motor vehicle if he can read and speak the English language sufficiently to converse with the general public, to understand highway traffic signs and signals in the English language, to respond to official inquiries, and to make entries on reports and records … §391.11(b)(2)