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Sleep may have caused fatal motorcycle collision

The Washington State Patrol is currently looking for an explanation for a fatal collision between a pickup truck and two motorcycles. Having ruled out alcohol or drugs as a cause, the police are now investigating whether the driver of the pickup may have fallen asleep at the wheel.

The accident occurred on Aug. 18 on State Route 4 when a Dodge Ram pickup was driven by a 22-year-old resident of Longview apparently crossed the centerline and crashed into two motorcycles, each of which was carrying a passenger. The couple on the first motorcycle to be struck both died on impact. The driver and passenger of the second motorcycle suffered injuries. The female passenger was treated and released, but her husband remained hospitalized and was in serious condition.

Police at the scene found no trace of alcohol or drugs that would have impaired the truck driver's ability to control his vehicle. Troopers at the scene are suggesting that the driver may have fallen asleep behind the wheel. The driver has been charged with second-degree negligent driving. A touch of irony is added to the facts of this case by the fact that the driver is a recipient of a $1,000 scholarship from the Cowlitz County Deputy Sheriff's Benefit Association.

If the preliminary opinion of the Sheriff's department is supported by further investigation, the driver of the pickup is likely to be held liable for the wrongful deaths of the couple on the lead motorcycle and for the injuries suffered by the couple on the second motorcycle. Anyone who has been injured or lost a loved one in an accident blamed on a driver's failure to stay awake may wish to explore the possibility of recovering damages for wrongful death or medical expenses, lost income and pain and suffering. A capable personal injury lawyer may be able to provide an evaluation of the evidence and law that govern the case and to provide an estimate of the likelihood of a monetary recovery from the party at fault.