According to a Philadelphia Daily News story, “David Schreffler spent the last moments of his life pinned inside his 1997 Infiniti Q45 with a massive tractor-trailer mounted on top of his car.” Little did Schreffler, 49, of Fort Washington, Pennsylvania know when he hit a slow spot in traffic on Pennsylvania’s Schuylkill Expressway that day that due to negligence on the part of a truck mechanic, he would soon lose his life. A father of three, Schreffler died at the scene of the accident where a tractor trailer mounted his car and crashed into three others. His passenger, Joseph Maylish, 53, suffered injuries in the wreck.
The truck’s driver, Valerijs Belovs, told the Pennsylvania State Patrol that he had been travelling about 45 miles per hour due to the stop and go traffic. When traffic slowed, Belovs reported, he pushed the brake and nothing happened.
Now Belovs, and two accomplices, Victor Kalinitchii, the co-owner of the tractor trailer, and Joseph Jadczak, a garage owner, are all facing charges of homicide by vehicle, involuntary manslaughter, recklessly endangering another person, and related offenses.
Jadczak is accused of a deeply troubling crime – issuing a fraudulent inspection sticker for the truck, even though Belovs had been cited four times for faulty brakes by numerous states in which he had been pulled over for motor carrier compliance checks. Adding to his lack of credibility, he had also been cited numerous times for falsifying his log book.
According to the mechanic who carried out the post-crash inspection, the brakes on the truck were defective. Said the mechanic, “Had a true, proper, and complete safety inspection been conducted the brake deficiencies would have been discovered and the vehicle would have been either repaired or failed the safety inspection and not been permitted to operate on the highway.” In fact, three of the truck’s 10 brake assemblies had failed completely and the others were all in dangerous shape.
In effect, due to fraud and negligence, an 18-wheeler without proper stopping power had been travelling the freeways of at least six states.
What is worse, when authorities arrived at Jadczak’s garage to question him, they witnessed the mechanic allegedly giving another truck driver a fraudulent inspection sticker despite not actually performing the inspection. Authorities are now requiring over 300 trucks inspected at Jadczak’s garage to obtain new inspections.
Over 5,000 people are killed every year in the United States in trucking accidents. Many of these are through negligence, fatigue or other driver error. Someone like Joseph Jadczak, who takes it upon himself to issues false safety inspection stickers, can greatly contribute to that number.
If you or someone you know has been injured in a tractor trailer accident in Georgia, you may have legal recourse. It is important to find out if the truck’s inspection was up to date and carried out in a legal way. Call MLN Law at (404) 531-9700 for more information about your rights after an accident with a tractor trailer.