Gig Harbor mother who lost family going after trucking company

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by DREW MIKKELSEN / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @Drewmikk

KING5.com

Posted on February 14, 2013 at 6:47 PM

Updated Thursday, Feb 14 at 7:06 PM

GIG HARBOR, Wash. -- A Gig Harbor mother wants justice from the trucking company she blames for killing four relatives.

Jennifer Smith’s husband Matthew, her 19-year-old daughter Laura and Smith’s in-laws, Dick and Sally Smith, were killed in June of 2010 in Northern California. Their Subaru was pushed into oncoming traffic after a semi-truck rear-ended them.

The truck driver, Gustavo Lopez, was sentenced to a year in prison for vehicular manslaughter.
Investigators said he had been going too fast for traffic.

A Department of Transportation investigation also revealed he had been fatigued and falsified records in his trucking log book.

Prison time is not enough justice for Smith. Her attorney said Smith turned down a one million dollar settlement from the trucking company, KLC.

She would have had to sign a confidentiality agreement. Smith’s attorney said instead of money, his client wanted to go after KLC. The company has filed for bankruptcy.

Smith’s attorney said if they win the lawsuit, which is pending, Smith wants to make sure the company’s owners can no longer put trucks on the road.

“It seems as if there were virtually no penalties to all the parties involved except to me and my family,” Smith said.

Smith met her husband when she was 16.

Her daughter Laura was the youngest of four children. Laura was studying at Cornell.

“You don’t lose half a family and have things not change,” said Smith.
 

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