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Truck Driver Eludes Police on Chase and Causes Fatal Crash

Midnight truck accident

A tragic local accident serves as a reminder of the tremendous damage which large trucks and tractor-trailers can do when driven erratically, and the harm that can result from allowing drivers with unsafe records behind the wheel of these trucks.

The accident in question occurred after midnight on Saturday, July 9 in Elizabeth. The driver of a tractor-trailer, Danny Clyde Burnam, was driving near the intersection of Elizabeth Avenue and First Street when he crashed into a passenger vehicle. The driver of the car wasn’t hurt and got out of the vehicle to try to stop the trucker when he began to drive away. Burnam continued along Elizabeth Avenue, driving erratically. An off-duty police officer spotted the weaving truck and tried to stop him, even firing his weapon at the cab of the truck, but failed to slow him down. Burnam accelerated and turned onto North Broad Street, striking numerous moving and parked cars as he swerved across the road. Eventually, he reached a police barricade and was fired at by Elizabeth police officers. Burnam was wounded but plowed through the barricade and continued driving. Burnam reached the intersection of North Avenue and Newark Avenue, half a mile from the barricade, and crashed head-on with a passenger vehicle. Sadly, the driver of that car was killed, and his two passengers required hospitalization for their injuries. Burnam was then arrested before being taken to the hospital in stable condition. Last week, Burnam was arraigned on criminal charges stemming from his destructive and lethal ride, including reckless aggravated assault, vehicular homicide, and aggravated manslaughter. His bail was set at $2 million.

Burnam, a 57-year-old with home addresses in Colorado and California, has a long criminal history. As recently as 2012, he was convicted of a felony, and has been convicted of seven others stemming from a total of at least 53 arrests, according to Union county prosecutors. The truck Burnam was driving was registered to the owner Dunns Logistics in Henderson, Nevada, which has a similarly checkered history. While the national average out-of-service rate for driver inspections is 5.51%, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Dunns Logistics has a rate of 28.3%. While the average driver may not realize it, there are truly dangerous real-world consequences to other drivers for allowing such shoddy companies with low regard for driver safety records to operate on our roads.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a crash with a large truck or tractor-trailer, seek the damages you’re owed for your injuries by contacting the knowledgeable, dedicated, and professional New Jersey personal injury attorney Andrew R. Jacobs for a consultation on your case, at 973-532-9681.

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