In July, a Tennessee truck driver plowed through a Colorado neighborhood, damaging 17 cars in the process. Fortunately, no one was injured and only property damage claims were involved. Truck driver David Kent refused to submit to blood alcohol testing after police officers smelled alcohol on him. The police was able to find the truck driver because there were trees dangling from the drunken truckers rig.
Because Mr. Kent was a National Guardsman between deployments, the Court went easy on him and sentenced him to only 48 hours of community service. Kent’s insurance company will have a thick file of claims to sort through, including damage to 17 cars, destroyed signs, damaged yards, downed trees, uprooted sprinkler systems and other damage.
Knoxville injury attorney Mark Hartsoe has handled numerous cases against drunk drivers and impaired truckers. When outrageous conduct of this nature injures innocent members of society a message needs to be sent that this conduct will be penalized so that it does take children getting run over in a crosswalk for drunken trucking to be punished.
Tennessee courts have found that drunk driving sometimes warrants the imposition of punitive damages. The purpose of punitive damages is to punish the wrongdoer and deter others from committing similar wrongs in the future. It will be interesting to see whether any of the homeowners will seek the imposition of punitive damages. The danger posed by tractor trailers, which often weigh 20,000 pounds and cause great damage as a result of their tremendous size, would seem to warrant sending a message that this type of conduct cannot be permitted.
Truck Driver Who Terrorized Colorado Neighborhood Pleads Guilty, 24-7 Press Release, September 4, 2010