PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A 2016 road rage crash cost a 30-year-old woman her life — leading to a nearly $27 million lawsuit and shedding light on road rage among professional truck drivers.
Sara Allison was driving on June 1, 2016 on Highway 20 near Burns when a flatbed truck struck her car head-on. The crash killed her and seriously injured her 27-year-old husband, Matthew.
Attorneys for the family said the road rage incident spanned for more than 90 miles along the two-lane highway between four commercial truck drivers.
According to court documents, the truck drivers were racing, speeding and brake checking each other — setting the stage for the feud.
The documents state that they were driving aggressively and cutting each other off. At one point, the truck attempted to pass another commercial RV, but the RV sped up so the truck couldn’t get by. The RV was in one lane and truck was in the other when they reached a blind turn — where the couple was driving.
“Road rage is getting worse in America and it’s getting worse amongst our commercial drivers,” Thomas D’Amore, attorney for the Allisons, said.
One trucking company, Smoot Enterprises, admitted wrongdoing in a settlement and fired three of their drivers. One of them is serving six years in jail.
However, the other trucking company — Horizon Transport — denied any wrongdoing. Their involved driver is still on the road — working for Swift Transport, one of the largest trucking companies in America.
After three years, a jury in Pendleton recently found Horizon liable for $26.5 million in damages.
“For these guys to be playing power battles on the road is outrageous and this jury wanted to send a clear message that that’s not okay and they didn’t want anyone else to die because of that behavior,” Steven Brady, another attorney for the Allisons, said.
The attorneys for the Allisons hope the case will set an example for trucking companies and make them take a hard look at who they’re letting behind the wheel.