Another tragedy involving teenagers. Lindsey Toft of Montery was killed in an accident on I-40. The November 22nd crash also left three others injured.
She and her sister, Jessica Toft, 17, were passengers in the back seat of a 2004 Ford SUV being driven by Matthew Harris, 18, of Hanging Limb Highway, Monterey. His sister, Kayla Harris, 19, also of Hanging Limb Highway, was riding in the front seat beside her brother. The four teens were on their way home from seeing a movie, according to the State Trooper Scott Bilbrey’s report. A tractor trailer truck was traveling in the lane left of the teen’s vehicle. The truck driver apparently had given a signal that he was moving over, attempted to enter the Ford’s lane. Harris blew his horn, but still had to swerve to avoid being hit. The Ford then struck the right-side guardrail, and bounced back onto the highway. It then struck a second tractor trailer, ejecting Lindsey Toft through the rear-window. Both Lindsey Toft and her sister Jessica were not wearing seat belts. The report said the SUV was in the the tractor trailers "blind spot." At night that "blind spot" is much reduced as the driver can see the headlights of the vehicle if he looks.
All accidents resulting in injury or death should be investigated quickly and thoroughly. This becomes even more important when it’s a hit and run case like this.
In Tennessee, while citations can be issued for non use of seat belts, failure to use a seat belt cannot be used to decrease awards of lawsuits for negligence of other drivers in crashes. This means that Toft’s family’s damage award would not be reduced by her non-use of a seatbelt. But this presumes that the at fault truck driver can be found – which is why the Toft family should demand nothing short of an immediate investigation or hire an experienced tractor trailer attorney to investigate for them!