Jury awards victim of Swift driver’s crash $23.5 million

By Charlie Morasch, Land Line staff writer | 12/5/2008

A federal jury in Kansas recently awarded one trucker’s family more than $20 million for a 2006 accident caused by a Swift driver who tested positive for being under the influence of drugs.

Terry and Donna Frederick of Overland Park, KS, sued Swift in relation to a March 16, 2006, crash that involved a Yellow Freight truck that Terry Frederick was riding in and a Swift truck driven by Robyn Getchel.

The wreck occurred about 1:30 a.m. that day on U.S. 54 near Tucumcari, NM. The collision killed Yellow Freight driver Dennis Bottorff and injured Terry Frederick’s spine.

The Fredericks argued that Getchel recklessly turned into a rest area north of U.S. 54 and failed to maintain proper control of the truck, leading to the crash between the two trucks.

Getchel once tested positive for being under the influence of methamphetamine while driving for Swift.

According to the Wichita Eagle, the largest verdict ever against Swift occurred in December 2007, when an Arizona jury awarded $36.5 million after one of the carrier’s trucks crashed into and killed another driver.

– By Charlie Morasch, staff writer

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