Driver who killed 5 in truck crash receives short sentence: Part II

Earlier this week, we began a discussion about a truck driver who was recently sentenced to less than five years in prison for causing a crash that killed five people and injured nine others. Investigators believe that the 48-year-old truck driver had fallen asleep at the wheel; evidenced by the fact that he didn’t even slow down before slamming his 18-wheeler into a line of stopped vehicles on the highway.

This case shows that when lives are taken by a negligent driver in a fatal truck accident, the victims’ families deserve more closure and more compensation than the criminal justice system is able to provide.

For his crimes, the driver could have faced more than 12 years in prison. Instead, he was sentenced to less than five years, and will receive credit for time already served. The victims’ family members were in the courtroom that day to talk about their loved ones and to ask the judge to impose a harsh sentence.

A father who lost his 26-year-old daughter reminisced about dancing with her at her wedding just two years before she died. He spoke to the judge, saying: “I do not have to convince (the defendant) of his horrible act, but to show the court that he deserves to spend as much time in jail as the court allows. I know that no matter what the outcome, it will not bring back our loss.”

A mother who lost her only son spoke directly to the driver, saying: “You took everything from me. You’ve left me with nothing.”

The grief that follows a fatal accident cannot be overstated, especially for parents who have lost their children. For this reason, no amount of criminal punishment against a negligent driver will be enough to bring closure and healing to families who have lost loved ones.

That’s why many families choose to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit as well. While it won’t bring their loved ones back, it can provide financial compensation to help cover funeral expenses and other costs related to death and grieving. In the end, that kind of closure could be what helps a family begin to heal.

Source:, “Tearful family members object to Velkov’s sentence,” Emily Weaver, Mar. 8, 2013