A family as torn apart in an instant.
A mother lost her two children and her fiancé in a fatal tractor-trailer crash on Interstate 95 in Waterford nearly a year ago.
Since then, her family said healing has been very slow. Partly, because no one knew how this tragedy unfolded.
Eyewitness News has new information from a lawsuit that suggests it was all preventable. This lawsuit unloads on the driver, saying he was driving when he was distracted and tired. It states the tractor-trailer driver did nothing to get out of the way before slamming into the family of four.
But the lawsuit states because of maintenance issues, that truck should never have been on the road.
“Is she still breathing? Yes, but that's in the eye of the beholder. It hasn't even been a year,” Gwen Samuel, who is the aunt of Baughnita Leary.
Leary was the sole survivor of a crash near Exit 82 on the southbound side of I-95 on Oct. 12, 2014. Her fiancé, Darin Robinson, 3-year-old son Dacari, and 9-year-old daughter Sanaa, all died when the tractor trailer, driven by Gerard Dube, slammed into their family car.
“These are tractor trailers,” Samuel said. “Against a human being or a baby, a 3 year old, my nephew or Sanaee, you'll never win.”
The state police investigation is still ongoing. Dube, who had his license suspended multiple times for not paying fines, hasn't been charged. But he and the company he worked for, Gold Medal Bakery, are being sued.
“There were things well within their control,” Samuel said. “Who does the inspections? Who checks to make sure they do the inspections?
While Dube is being sued for his alleged reckless role, the family takes issue with the truck. They said it was driven when it should have been out of service because of bad brakes and tires. They plan to go after Gold Medal Bakery for “failing to thoroughly inspect the truck and enforcing their own safety regulations.”
Eyewitness News went to company headquarters in Fall River, Ma. where they declined to comment.
No one was home at Dube's Swansea, Ma. Home.
“I don't think this man got on the road intending to kill a family,” Samuel said. ”But I think he was reckless. I think the company that ignored his driving record was reckless and irresponsible and I think they all need to be held accountable.”
While one battle plays out in court, the internal, emotional battle for a mother rages on every day. Samuel said children's rooms are intact, left just the way they were on the day they left them for the final time.
“We probably will never heal from this,” Samuel said. “We'll live, but we'll probably never heal from this. So again, there are no winners in this case
We did check with the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles and they said Dube's license has been revoked.
The family will be appealing to federal lawmakers to have all CDL drivers meet the same guidelines when getting their license.
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