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Old 02-12-2006, 10:05 PM
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Default Is There Life After Trucking?

I've been following the post, "Crete driver kills several kids", posted by BornLooser, and it seems many others are reading it also. Down near the bottom there's a post by HangNail, "The truth about Crete", which contrasts posts made by others who mention how picky Crete is when hiring drivers. It's interesting how information can be 180 degrees apart.
What is the truth?
Maybe both?

The Crete driver involved in the deadly crash is said to be 31 years of age -- that's young. Not so much young for a driver, but too young for life, as he's known it for those 31 years, to be over. No, he wasn't killed, but he may as well have been considering what his future and fate will likely be.

Most drivers know how popular they are with the general motoring public so it's not too difficult to imagine the outcome when those motorists find themselves seated in a jury box for a trial involving a truck driver who was involved in a crash that took the lives of children.
It's payback time, -- send a message.

This will be an emotional event that the courts will likely use to make a point. The press will be covering it in depth, making it an opportunity for a District Attorney to be noticed and a chance to advance his/her career. It won't be a case for them not to win. With John Q. Public's eyes on every move, the D.A.'s reputation and conviction record will be at stake. The D.A. cannot afford to lose this one. If the D.A. fails to get a conviction it will be a black mark on their record and could result in not being re-elected to office and effect their career negitively for future positions. How much effort do you suppose the D.A. will put into this case to get that conviction?
Who said 110 percent?
You're probably correct.

The 31-year-old (former) truck driver has rights too, though. For one, he's "entitled to an attorney."
Any attorney who can manage to get a not guilty verdict from this one will set a client back at least fifty grand,... up front. Before it's all over attorney fees would probably be over $100,000. And, you don't get money back if the case ends in a conviction.

However, a high visibility trial might attract a powerful law firm to take the case pro-bono, mostly for the exposure. But, if that attorney can getcha out, ....... who cares? Egos at play, D.A...(vid) vs. Goliath.
++ooops! bad example! The little guy won that one. My bad.++

There are a lot of attornies in the Florida panhandle, I'm sure. What are the chances one of them will do their "civic duty" by donating their services to appear as a Public Defender for the truck driver?
I don't know.

There's hope, I hope.
In the position the truck driver is in, it very well could come to be the only thing that keeps him going -- hope -- that positive spark that keeps you going when little else matters . Is there life after hope?

Yes, I believe so. And prisons are one place to find examples. In those surroundings, knowing it won't change for 15 to 25 years, (That's 46 to 56 years old uopn release) or worse yet -- for life, alot of hope is lost. The thirty-one year old Crete driver was only 10 years into adulthood. Most likely he will have spent over half of his adult life in prison by the time he's released -- if he survives.

Prisons have guards. Guards are there for a reason. To maintain "control" of the inmates. There are "rules", and there are many to heed. The guards enforce those rules. The many factions among the inmates have "rules" also. Often, those "rules" conflict.
Decision time.
Either way, it's a no-win situation. It isn't a matter of making the correct decision as much as it is making the best decision -- under the circumstances.

There aren't many good guys in prison so the Crete driver will have to wing it. An affiliation with one of the several factions, "gangs", if you will, can make prison life more tolerable, but they pick who they'll accept. Each group has their own issues with each other, but one thing they all seem to agree on is disdain for those who molest or otherwise hurt children. It's quite possible the Crete driver will have a bulls eye on his back and can expect a severe beating. After which he will be expected to "rat" on who did it. If he tells the guards what they want to know, he'll be in deep doo-doo with the inmates he "lives" with daily. If he tells the guards he fell and hurt himself, he'll be in deep doo-doo with the guards and will find out what confinement in the "hole" is all about.........a small room with no furniture, maybe a toilet, usually a hole in the floor where the plumbing reaches the surface. Considering the cell will be in complete darkness, this arrangement can be messy. No problem getting his clothing soiled.........because there won't be any clothing. Naked in total darkness for a few weeks does things to the mind. No contact with others. About the only time a sliver of light can be seen is when the slot for the food(?) tray is opened to slide the tray into the cell.

What's for dinner? Who knows?, it's too dark to tell and nothing tastes like what it really is. Remember who prepares the food,.....inmates. Same ones who don't like the driver. What "special" ingredients go into his meals?

There will be ample time to reflect while in the hole. Like, how soon will he'll be back in the hole for not "ratting" on who beat him up, again. Fifteen to twenty-five years living like that, always looking over the shoulder, never knowing when the attack will occur -- or from whom -- changes a personality. If he makes it, does his "time," and is released, that prison "attitude" will be ingrained. It's a culture shock to be returned to society after 15 to 25 years incarcerated just like it was going from freedom to prison. By the time he's released, things will have changed, and will require catching up. Family support can help -- if they're still alive and willing. Some handle it okay, but I think most don't -- and wind up back in prison. This time, they know the ropes "inside". They've been "down" before, so prison life becomes a comfort zone.

Who will hire a convict? He's expected to be a productive member of society upon return. Driving a truck is probably the only trade he knows, without skills, flipping burgers and general labor are options. Forget about saving for retirement. Pretty bleak future. Doesn't exactly promote a feeling of hope. In a nutshell, the Crete driver's life is ruined...........all because of a moment in time where he made bad choices and decisions.

Although I believe there is a big difference between a violent thug who commits crimes by choice and sees no reason to alter that life style,
and someone who makes a big mistake that results in tragedy. Does the "system" view them the same?

Prison is, by no means, a kick-back time to lie in bed watching cartoons on television until it's time to go home. I wonder if folks realized what prison is really like, if they'd be so anxious to send anyone there for any length of time,? unless that punishment fits the "crime"
Is not paying close enough attention when driving a truck a "crime"?

How many reading this have had a close call out on the road? Who would have been blamed or found to be at fault if you had been involved in a crash as a result of a "mistake" you made? Evidently that's a crime. And you would therefore be a criminal subject to serve prison time along side of the hard core thugs who wouldn't blink an eye as they slipped a "shiv" between your ribs or "stick" you in the liver so you'll bleed out. Remember, if you seek medical help for your wound, there will be questions that, if answered, will anger the inmates you live with. No answer gets you a stay in the hole for a week or two -- maybe more.
Keep in mind, that Crete driver could be you.

This is a good time to realize just how serious it is driving a big truck. As a holder of a Class A license, you're held to a higher standard. You're a "professional driver". You aren't expected to make mistakes. If you do, be prepared for what comes next. It isn't pretty, and probably not fair, -- but it is what it is.

If that isn't reason enough to always be in control, paying attention and running legal, I don't know what is.

If you can imagine your driving style might lead up to any situation that could end in an unsatisfactory result, perhaps it's time for an attitude adjustment. A refresher course in Defensive Driving wouldn't hurt either. Those classes may be offered through or by the company you drive for. Take advantage of the opportunity.

Those just starting their driving career might want to reconsider. You're going to be held to a higher standard -- even in your passenger vehicle when off duty. Trucks are not liked by the general motoring public, and those are you're "peers". They'll also sit on the jury.

As jurors, they'll be instructed to keep an "open mind" and their decision must be, "beyond a REASONABLE doubt."
What's "reasonable"?
Is it "reasonable" to expect twelve people to actually be able/willing to keep an open mind during someone's life changing trial?
I digress.

Those who drive a big truck, who aren't placing enough emphasis on their driver's responsibilities, and/or have come to think they really aren't all that important, AND
Those just beginnig who see truck driving as holding a steering wheel while enjoying the passing scenery -- with pay..........

Might be a good time for a reality check and/or attitude adjustment. Not a bad idea to do that now and then anyway.

Thanx for your time.
I appreciate that.
Old 02-13-2006, 01:20 AM
Posts: n/a
Default Life after trucking...

Grave digger, swamping out buses down at the Greyhound terminal, "you want fries with that?", workin' at the car-wash blues, Western Sizzlin...plenty of opportunity for someone with "steering-wheel holder" on their resume.
Old 02-13-2006, 08:55 AM
Posts: n/a
Default terminalmanager

When you have to back your car hauler down inside a building on one of those little 2 lane side streets off of Morgan Ave with box trucks and 4 wheelers parked on both sides of the street, or when you are expected to bump a dock on Utica Ave at 7am from the oncoming traffic side while 4 wheelers and transit buses are pouring around you, then you can call me a "steering wheel holder".

Seems we are peers in this industry by default, terminalmanager, but then again, some of us equals have it worse than others.

And dont feed me that **** about how good I would have it if I were in a union job. I checked into it and I couldn't afford the pay cut.
Old 02-13-2006, 05:14 PM
Posts: n/a
Default Amazing Post Aftershock

Your insight is exactly what I've been thinking but unable to put into words.

I think anyone who has driven a truck for any length of time MUST think about mistakes that happen. Personally, I can think of one REALLY close call that I had where the "blame" would have been questioned if an accident would have occurred. But to be honest, truckers are just out to make a living and do not make it their mission to hurt anyone else in the process.

Sometimes, as drivers, things happen around us that we can not control. Our cell phone rings, the quallcom beeps, a deer runs across the road, a commercial comes on the radio and we change channels, or we reach up to find the "off" button on our CB and are distracted for a second in time. Whatever the issue, every driver on the road has a distraction. We've all just been lucky enough to have our distractions be only a second or two with no objects in our way. Was this driver distracted for a moment or was he truly exhausted beyond the level of comprehension?

The road is straight where the accident happened and driver had plenty of time to react (apparantly). There were indeed skid marks, but because he was loaded to the gills with water, he wasn't going to stop in 6 seconds. So who knows? Who is to say for sure? Right now, the driver ain't talkin' due to the advice of his attorney, and I can't say that I don't blame him.

The other thing to think about is the fact that this guy has a record. I looked through some of the investigation and this guy has SCRAPED through a couple of serious and "not-so-serious" violations. He has several "no seat belt" violations, and a Felony that had been removed from his record for accessory to murder I think it was as well as one for patronizing prostitutes (more than likely chasing lot lizards around a Petro somewhere). Basically, he hasn't been held "seriously" accountable for crimes although he has brushed up against the law many times in the past.

A jury is going to see his record and think that he finally "deserves" his just punishment. He also was apparantly 30 hours behind on his logbook. This in and of itself does not prove that he was actually awake for 30 hours, but more than likely means he was lazy and didn't do his paperwork in a timely manner. Of course he could have been up for 30 hours, so who is to say for sure? The driver apparantly told someone that he had indeed been up for 30 hours and only had a short nap in between.

This guy has issues. No doubt. But in my opinion, his past should NOT be held against him in this particular case simply because none of it is relative to the case at hand. But a jury is not going to see it that way. He will be made an example. He should not pay for his past crimes now. But any good prosecuting attorney is going to bring up the past so as to muddy the water. And in all honesty, a jury deserves to know.

Anyway, I think this is a terrible tragedy and one that will go down in the record books as one of the most devastating in trucking history.

However, I still do not blame the 15 year old girl who was driving the vehicle. However I do hold her parents strictly accountable in this case. For some reason, her parents thought it necessary for her to be in charge of 6 kids in one car!!! Not to mention the fact that she wasn't even legal to do so. One of the children was still in the state's care in the foster system and somehow the media is playing this family up like they are heroes??

Apparantly there were no booster seats OR car seats in the car. So this family makes a habit out of transporting their children in unsafe manner.

To me, they are neglectful and I am astonished that more hasn't been mentioned on this side of the case. Of course it will in the end, but would you let your 15 year old daughter (with no license) take off everyday with your 16 month old and put into a car with her? I couldn't do it.

The parents made bad choices that day (and the days previous to that b/c this was a habit of theirs). They are not heroes. Although they are victims because they lost a whole family in one day, but when reality sets in, they ultimately hold some accountability in this too. None of this diminshes their grief or their loss. But they made a bad choice and this particular choice cost them a lot more inconvenience than if they would have just got into the car and picked up the kids from school themselves. Why ask a teenager to do what you don't want to be bothered with? They are not heroes for fostering children because they have proven to be irresponsible as well. But you hear no mention of this in the media because it is easier to tear the trucking industry apart than blame a grieving mother or family.

But the kids are dead and a trucker hit them. And that's what is easy to digest and understand.

I have little pity on the trucker either. However, the media and others are looping all trucks/truckers into the same realm as "dangerous". All things like this do is make people even more intimidated by us. However, there are millions of loads delivered every single day without incident and all that ever gets noticed is when one messes up.

We are held to a higher standard than the average driver. I understand that. But we are not above being human and making judgment calls that are not productive.

Noone knows for certain what happened that day--at least not yet. And to be honesst, noone may know for sure because 7 of the victims are dead. All we have left is a truck driver with a semi-destructive criminal history, and a bus driver who watched it all happen from a rear-view mirror.

I'm glad I'm not in Lake Butler and am glad that I won't be serving on this jury. Pointing fingers is easy, but knowing what I know about trucking and knowing how terrible reality is on the road, I think I'd have to say I couldn't offer a real honest opinion in the case.

My heart is broken for the victims and the families as well as this trucker and his family.

The whole wreck may have been able to be avoided---but then again, maybe not. I guess as this progresses we will all know for sure.

Old 02-13-2006, 06:40 PM
Posts: n/a
Default sick of it

I am sick and tired of this subject which has been beat to death. Just hang the school bus driver and the truck driver to make sure you got the right one.

Simple isnt it? Just a bunch of screaming kids. I don't see what the big deal is.
Old 02-13-2006, 09:08 PM
Posts: n/a
Default Life after truckin

Let the bus driver and truck driver go, hang the idiot that put the 60 mph sign up along that highway knowing there is school buses that stop on it!!!
Old 02-14-2006, 04:24 AM
Posts: n/a
Default bad boy

im not sticking up for this guy, but cmon, lets get real. bringing up his past criminal record? wow!! got busted for getting head? didnt wear a seatbelt? this dude sounds like a real tough hombre. he shouldnt have been let out on the streets for these hideous crimes.
Old 02-15-2006, 10:43 AM
Posts: n/a
Default open

Whenever or if ever this person is released from Prison, he will have a difficult time of it.
He will have at least a Felony for involuntary manslaughter,if not many Felonies which will place him in the "can't be trusted for much" category. He may be able to acquire a drives license whenever he gets out of Prison for maybe a golf cart, moped, little red wagon.

It'll be what it'll be and these are his problems.
Old 02-15-2006, 10:42 PM
Posts: n/a
Default Dangerous

when you are expected to bump a dock on Utica Ave at 7am from the oncoming traffic side while 4 wheelers and transit buses are pouring around you, then you can call me a "steering wheel holder".

No, I'd call you a wreckless Billy Big Rigger. It's dangerous and foolhardy to hit a dock under those conditions. You know that, Driver. You should have at least two guys out there in orange safety vests stopping traffic or you should call the local police.

What company do you pull for and who's your boss? I'm sure their insurance carrier would love to hear about your antics.
Old 02-16-2006, 09:15 AM
Posts: n/a
Default I C U C 2

Thanx for taking the time to comment G.G., I appreciate that you did. Also, thanx for the additional points of view you offer in your post following mine. For the record, I agree with your assessments.
In particular:

"....I still do not blame the 15 year-old girl who was driving the vehicle. However I do hold her parents strictly accountable in this case."

Absolutely! Without a doubt the parents are responsible. Their actions set the whole chain of events in motion in the first place.

"So this family makes a habit out of transporting their children in an unsafe manner."

"....somehow the media is playing this family up like they are heros??"

"To me,they are neglectful and I am astonished that more hasn't been mentioned on this side of the case."

Again, I am in agreement with you.

Typical of the media to completely miss the obvious. Masters of the 15 second sound bite, they have problems with any subject that requires following anything to a logical conclusion. Knee-jerk reactions are the media's specialties, and folks charge ahead with eyes wide shut.

"But the kids are dead and a trucker hit them. And that's what is easy to digest and understand."

And that's the extent of their thinking process. Much easier to let the media do their thinking for them. The poor parents. Now they have to cope with the tragic deaths of the children.

Reminds me of a case here in the Los Angeles area. The Menendez brothers, who hid and waited for mom and dad to return home -- then ambushed them. When it was all over, their parents were dead. Seems the brothers shot them to death with a 12 gauge shotgun. Even had to re-load and blast 'em again. Probably didn't want their parents to suffer. Right?

Afterwards, the brothers went on a shopping spree. Hail! They inherited several million dollars. What else could they do? Shopping helps the grieving process, doncha know.

Well, they got caught.
At their trial, their attorney played the sympathy card to the jury.
'These poor guys will have to live the rest of their lives without their loving parents to guide them.'

Cry me a river!!! THEY are the reason they won't have parents. Talk about being bassakwards.

Same thing now. Parents allow a child to illegally operate a motor vehicle with younger children as passengers not in car seats as required by law.
What laws? We don need no steenking laws. The parents put those kids in harms way. Now, what frosts me most is, they'll probably get a huge settlement from an insurance company and the trucking company as well.

What do you bet they'll take that money and use it to better THEIR lives? Blood money. Profiting from their adopted kids deaths. What must be going through their minds?

It may sound cold, but I think secretly, they won't give it a second thought once the check is cashed. They'll be too busy looking for 'closure', or some other politically correct reason to feel exuberant about their 'losses'. The money gained will counter any pain from their losses.

Sure won't need to spend any of that blood money on baby sitters. I imagine a new car is in order. This time, it'll be a safer car. One that's been rated with five stars out of five in crash tests.

My opinion?
The parents aren't entitled to a mega buck settlement. Perhaps enough to cover funeral costs, etc. -- but I don't think they should be allowed to collect like this were a lottery they just won.

I'd give them some time in County Jail to reflect on this. And they'd stay there until they got it through their thick heads what THEY did wasn't in the kid's best interest.
For SURE I'd see to it they NEVER have custody of minor children again -- EVER!

What happened was so wrong that NOTHING will ever make it right. Not even a mega buck wrongful death settlement.

SOMEbody!! Stop the World -- I want to get off.
I've had enough.

Rant over. Resume regularly scheduled posting.

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