The Cassidy Law Firm Blog

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Couple Dies in Car Crash on the Way to Their Wedding

Tragedy on the roads happens every day across the U.S. While everyone on the road has a duty to operate their vehicles in a safe manner,  CDL drivers who operate large trucks and tractor trailers are held to an even higher standard. This is because these vehicles clearly pose increased threats to the safety of others. The sheer weight of these vehicles means that the smallest impact with another vehicle can have devastating consequences.

When truck drivers fail in their duty to operate their vehicles safely, people can get seriously, and sometimes fatally, injured. Truck crashes end in tragedy far too often. A particularly poignant example occurred just last fall when a couple died in a crash on the way to their wedding.

Couple Dies in Car Crash on the Way to Their Wedding

On November 14, 2018, Kathryn Schurtz, age 35, of Jersey City, New Jersey, and her fiancé, Joseph Kearney, age 42, died in a crash on Interstate 78. The two of them were en route to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where they were supposed to be married several days later. Recently, formal charges of vehicular homicide have been filed in Pennsylvania against the allegedly reckless operator of the tractor trailer that struck their car.

The tractor trailer driver, Jaspreet Singh Chahal, is a 24-year-old from Fresno, California. The arrest warrant cites careless driving resulting in death and operating a hand held mobile device when driving, among other traffic violations. There has been a seven-month long investigation into the devastating accident prior to the form charges being filed. The investigation found that a minimum of five tractor trailers were involved in the crash. The warrant alleges that Chahal was driving while distracted at the time he entered an upcoming work zone. Because of the distraction, Chahal failed to observe signs warning oncoming traffic of the work zone up ahead.

 Traffic in front of Chahal’s 18 wheeler had come to a stop, but Chahal didn't notice. Investigators believe that Chahal did not even brake before impacting the couple’s vehicle. The 18 wheeler launched into the couple’s vehicle and pushed in forward creating a pileup of five other tractor trailers. The couple’s car, along with two of the five tractor trailers, caught fire. This is the kind of devastation that can occur when operators of commercial vehicles fail to observe the prohibition on holding a mobile telephone while driving that they agree to when they accept their CDL.

The couple never made it to their special day. Police say that Chahal’s whereabouts are unknown and he currently remains at large.

New Jersey Truck Accident Attorney

This is a tragic story of a far too common situation. Kathryn Schurtz and Joseph Kearney are just two more victims of negligent truck driving. The Cassidy Law Firm is here to help the victims and the families of the victims. We are on your side and fight to enforce your legal rights. Contact us today.

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