A transport truck with deficient brakes and a driver with a poor record were the deciding factors in the horrific crash on Michigan's I-75 that took the lives of two Windsor-Essex children and a Michigan man, allege lawyers.
All the information at our disposal at this point in time leads us to conclude that (this accident) was avoidable. It was preventable. And it was entirely needless, said Windsor personal injury lawyer Greg Monforton at a press conference on Tuesday morning.
On Jan. 31, during an unexpected snowstorm, a Mazda sedan carrying 7-year-old Aidan Hicks and 9-year-old Gabrielle Greenwood of Windsor became involved in a multi-vehicle chain-reaction incident on Interstate 75.
After a series of minor collisions what Michigan lawyer Robert Darling describes as bumper car action the sedan was smashed on its passenger side by a transport truck.
Aidan and Gabrielle were killed.
Also in the car were Aidans mother Kim Barrett, Gabrielle's 10-year-old sister Hannah Greenwood, and her father Glen Greenwood, who all survived with injuries.
...It was preventable. And it was entirely needless..."
Monforton and Darling are representing the Greenwood family.
Darling said an independent investigation has found that at least half of the transport trucks braking systems weren't working.
Of the trucks eight axles, four had inoperable braking mechanisms. As well, two of the remaining axles had brakes that were out of adjustment.
Darling said the transport dates back to 1996. He said the vehicle is so old that its event data recorder known as a black box did not collect any useful information about the incident.
This truck and trailer should not have been on the road, Darling said.
Darling said its also been uncovered that the driver of the truck has had five safety violations in recent years. Three of those violations were for speeding, and two were for following too closely.
What did he do when he first saw this (scene)? Darling said at the press conference. Did he do anything at all?
Darling noted that there were other collisions on that day involving transport trucks, but only one truck was involved in fatal crashes.
Weather was not the factor of this particular accident, Darling said. Other people were able to stop their vehicles so that there were no serious injuries or fatalities.
Along with the Greenwood family's sedan, the transport truck in question struck another vehicle killing 54-year-old Menelaos Larry Manolis of Allen Park, Michigan.
Monforton said the injuries of the mother Kim Barrett were severe and include brain damage. She was recently released from hospital and is currently at home in Windsor.
The family is doing as well as can be expected, given the circumstances, Monforton said. They have begun what will, without question, be a very long and difficult period of recovery and rehabilitation.
Monforton said the names of the truck driver and the trucking company wont be revealed at this time, as an investigation by Michigan state police remains ongoing and charges may be pending.
Were continuing with our own investigation, Monforton added.
Its a matter of this family wanting answers. They want the same answers that any of us would want if it happened to us or our loved ones.
Darling said the truck driver and the company are based in Michigan.
The truck driver was not injured in the incident.
Monforton said his firm will speak again on this matter at an undetermined date.