Xiaoxia Zhang, 30, of Chicago was traveling east on I-90 with her family in their Volkswagan Passat station wagon. Her husband was driving and she and their two children were in the back seat.
A large blue truck or tractor trailer reportedly attempted to pass them on the left near mile mark 40 on I-90 in North East, Pennsylvania. The truck struck the Passat in the rear, spinning it out of control and causing Ms. Zhang to be ejected.
Another large truck reportedly struck Ms. Zhang as she lay on the highway. Reportedly, she was killed instantly.
Both drivers fled the scene.
Ms. Zhang’s husband and two children reportedly suffered minor injuries.
My hope is that someone was there at the scene promptly to help these people. As horrible as this Erie truck accident was I imagine it would have been that much worse had they been left alone in the dark by the side of the highway far from home. I hope that someone was there to help, to comfort them, until first responders arrived.
Yesterday I wrote of the cowardice of the first truck driver in this fatal hit and run accident. Frankly, it did not surprise me that a driver would flee the scene of such a terrible accident. Most people (and certainly most truck drivers) are good, honest people who will do the right thing and who have the courage not to run from a terrible situation like this one. But in almost 20 years of being a lawyer who represents people involved in the most terrible truck accidents I have certainly come to know plenty of drivers who acted like cowards. So, the fact that one driver left the scene disappointed me but did not surprise me.
But two cowards in the same place at the same time? As jaded as I am about human nature, that nevertheless surprises and saddens me.
I spoke with my wife about this morning. We struggled to find some way to explain the behavior of these two drivers. We came up with nothing for the first driver. As for the second, the best we could speculate was that the second truck driver was so inattentive that he wasn’t watching what was going on in front of him and completely failed to see the accident in front of him or the person on the road. The best we can say about the second driver is that he was grossly inattentive. But frankly, I’m not buying it. If I had to guess (and because both of the truck drivers fled that’s all we can do about their intent) I’m guessing he saw what he did and he drove away in fear.
Our thoughts are with the Zhang family. We hope that they are getting support and care here in Erie and that their friends and family are with them or will be soon.
And we hope that these two truck drivers are identified and made to face their responsibilities. As I wrote yesterday, it would be even better if they did the right thing and reported themselves. If you have information about the accident or either truck involved (including a large blue truck or semi with front end damage) you should call the Pennsylvania State Police at (814) 898-1641.