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Sic Semper Tyrannis

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Chi-Hi band bus likely using low beams at time of crash

This popped up this evening at JS Online's NewsWatch:

The bus carrying the Chippewa Falls High School marching band likely had its headlights on low beam when it smashed into an overturned semitrailer truck blocking the road, killing five people on the bus, a witness testified at the trucker's trial today.

Jennifer Morrison, an official with the National Transportation Safety Board, said the light filaments of dashboard indicator lights indicated the high beam indicator was off when the crash happened in the early morning hours of Oct. 16, 2005.

The visibility at the time is among technical issues being raised in the trial of truck driver Michael Kozlowski, 24, of Schererville, Ind.

I've driven that stretch of interstate many times at night, and it can certainly be one dark stretch of road. Just the same, it is hilly and curvy in that stretch and rarely do I personally use my high beams there. Not only is traffic in the south/east bound lanes usually light but regular, but you also find yourself constantly flipping the high beams on and off, making them more a distraction than a benefit.

I know what the defense is trying to do here; they want to shift as much blame as possible from their client to the deceased bus driver. It may even work with the jury. As a practical matter, though, this piece of evidence is not as as significant as it might seem.