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Criminal charges in fatal truck accident case

The April accident that claimed the life of an Indiana construction worker led to an arrest on Wednesday. The driver in the fatal tractor-trailer accident is being accused of causing a death while operating a vehicle under the influence of a controlled substance. A blood test conducted by authorities after the incident revealed the presence of marijuana in the truck driver’s bloodstream.

Construction worker Ryan D. Zimmerman was only 25 years-old when he was struck and killed by the semi driven by Gary Biehl. He was killed in a construction zone as Mr. Biehl turned onto the Indiana Toll Road. The personal injury case against Mr. Biehl resulted in a $13 million dollar settlement, paid to Mr. Zimmerman’s estate. In addition to negligent driving, it appears Mr. Biehl may also be guilty of a felony based on the pot found in his system.

The Adams County Prosecutor’s Office took Mr. Biehl into custody on Wednesday. He was later released after posting bond. As of yet, Mr. Biehl has not commented on the criminal charges against him. While the civil lawsuit resolved the financial compensation owed to Mr. Zimmerman’s loved ones, they will likely wish to follow the criminal proceeding closely.

Driving under the influence is a threat to more than the person imbibing. In this case, a young man’s life was stolen from him as he did his job because a truck driver chose to ignore the law. This was an avoidable tragedy that has permanently affected the lives of everyone involved. Hopefully, other drivers will take notice and take care when driving any vehicle, particularly in construction zones where workers are often placed in highly a highly exposed position.

Source: Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, “Trucker in deadly crash charged; test shows pot,” 16 June, 2011

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