A recent defense win was achieved in an Ice Road truckers case tried by Bob Richmond in Anchorage. The case stemmed from a collision occurring on the ice road leading to the North Slope oil fields. An 18 wheeler hauling pipe had stopped on the haul road to “chain up” given what the driver perceived as icy road conditions. While at that location, partially blocking the road, he was hit from behind by another 18 wheeler hauling 8,000 gallons of diesel fuel. The tanker attached to that vehicle overturned and spilled 2,000 gallons of fuel onto the frozen tundra. The temperature at the time of the accident was minus 20 degrees and the trucks were more than 300 miles from Fairbanks.
Eventual cleanup costs were $3.5 million which was paid by an insurance company who later subrogated against the company whose driver was stopped “chaining up” his vehicle. That carrier hired Richmond & Quinn. The defense was that its truck had lights on, it could be seen for at least a mile not moving, and the adverse driver was travelling at too great a speed across an icy road.
The jury returned a verdict of no negligence on the part of the vehicle chaining up after a two-week trial. It is noteworthy that Lashly & Baer, P.C. in St. Louis, Missouri, particularly Kevin Fritz, provided advice and counsel on various aspects of this matter because of their vast experience in trucking accident litigation.