Heavy trucks present special risks on Montana highways. But the load carried by one semi involved in a mid-November truck accident on U.S. Highway 2 between Hinsdale and Saco presented a danger that was way beyond the usual. The truck was carrying 36,000 pounds of bombs – military ordnance bound for the Minot, N.D. Air Force base.
The accident took place on a stretch of U.S. 2 that locals refer to as the Saco Divide. Snow and freezing rain had made the highway surface treacherous. According to Montana Highway Patrol investigators, the truck carrying the bombs was eastbound when it crossed the center line, sideswiped a westbound semi, and then went off the road. The westbound truck ended up blocking both lanes of the highway for several hours. The driver of the bomb-laden truck was treated at the hospital for glass fragments in his eye and then released. Law enforcement allowed no one within a mile of the collision scene until a team of inspectors from Malmstrom AFB arrived and declared the area safe.
When a trucker is injured in an accident his first source of recovery will usually be workers’ compensation, which will pay for lost wages, medical expenses and disability payments up to certain limits. In workers’ compensation, the employer or its insurer pays the benefits regardless of who was at fault.
If the accident was caused by the negligence of another driver, the trucker can bring a negligence lawsuit against that driver to recover those out-of-pocket expenses not covered by workers’ compensation, as well as damages for pain and suffering. In such a so-called third-party action, the trucker must prove that the other driver’s negligence was a direct cause of the accident.
Source: Glasgow Courier, “Bomb-Loaded Semi Among Wrecks On Stretch Of US 2,” Samar Fay And Virgil Vaupel, Nov. 20, 2012