Dr. Jaroy Stuckey and Family Killed in Tractor Trailer Crash
Dublin High School principal Jaroy Stuckey, his wife Elysea Stuckey and their 3-year-old son A.J. Stuckey tragically died in a fiery crash involving two tractor trailers on Interstate 16. The multi-vehicle crash happened in the westbound lanes of I-16 near mile marker 137 in Bulloch County, GA on Sunday, March 14, 2021. Georgia State Patrol say they received calls of a crash just before 3:00 pm.
According to the state’s preliminary investigation, a tractor trailer carrying a tanker was traveling in the right lane when it rear-ended the Stuckeys’ car. The impact of the crash forced the victims’ car into another tractor-trailer. The second tractor trailer then side-swiped another vehicle. Investigators say the crash caused the Stuckeys’ car to catch fire.
Tragically, 32-year-old Dr. Anthony Jaroy Stuckey, his wife, 34-year-old Elysea Stuckey and 3-year-old Anthony Jaroy Stuckey, Jr. died in the crash. The tiniest victim had not yet been born. The Stuckeys were also expecting a baby girl who was due later this year. The Stuckeys were God-fearing people who loved their family and community. Heartbroken family and friends posted messages on social media expressing their shock and sadness over the sudden loss.
Dr. Stuckey was a cherished and beloved principal at Dublin High School and an alumnus of Georgia Southern University.
Dublin City Schools released a statement regarding the untimely passing of the Stuckey family. The statement reads in part, “This loss is sure to raise many emotions, concerns, and questions for our entire school, especially our students. To say we are heartbroken is a true understatement.” Stuckey’s colleagues set up a memorial at the entrance of the high school. Counselors were available to students, parents and staff members. School officials marked Monday as a day of mourning for the entire district.
The fatal tractor trailer crash forced authorities to shut down the interstate for several hours.
The Georgia Department of Transportation said all westbound lanes of I-16 reopened around 7:00 pm. Georgia State Patrol said one person was in the tanker, two people were in the tractor-trailer, and at least one person was in the fourth vehicle.
Investigators are trying to determine the cause of the crash. The GSP Specialized Collision Reconstruction Team is conducting a follow-up investigation. Georgia State Patrol’s Cpl. Joshua Riddle told a local Macon, GA affiliate, “right now we’re trying to find out if there were any mechanical issues that caused the crash. Was it distracted driving? Was it anything else? We’re still investigating,” The GSP Specialized Collision Reconstruction Team is conducting a follow-up investigation into the exact cause of the crash. Charges are pending the results of this investigation.
Families’ Right to Sue
Families are already going through the heartbreaking tragedy of losing a loved one. There’s much to discuss with regard to who is the right person within the family to file the lawsuit. It is important you contact an experienced attorney who can sort out the details. The Law Firm of Walter Gabriel can help.
In this case, if the Stuckeys had no surviving children, then each of their parents would bring forth the wrongful death suit. That means, the parents of, Anthony Jaroy Stuckey may make a claim on his behalf. Similarly, Elysea Howard’s parents may make a claim on her behalf. An administrator would then determine the appropriate next of kin for their shared child, little Anthony Jaroy Stuckey, Jr. (AJ). This claim would likely be shared between both sets of grandparents.
Georgia law establishes who has the right to bring a wrongful death claim. The surviving spouse and children of the deceased are both first in line to file suit and recover on behalf of the decedent. O.C.G.A. § 51-4-2. But if the deceased died with no surviving spouse or children, then the parents of the deceased must bring forth the wrongful death suit. Under this circumstance, the parent would need to be appointed the administrator of the deceased person’s estate. O.C.G.A. § 51-4-5. The parent must file a Petition for Letters of Administration before the appropriate probate court. One of the findings the probate court will make is that the parent is of the closest degree pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 53-2-1.
O.C.G.A. § 53-2-1 outlines the order of who may recover on behalf of the victims – Anthony Jaroy Stuckey, Elysea Stuckey and little Anthony Jaroy Stuckey, Jr.:
- 1st degree of recovery from the decedent – Spouse and children
- 2nd degree – parents of the decedent
- 3rd degree – siblings of the decedent (if no siblings, then nieces and nephews share equally
- 4th degree – grandparents of the decedent
- 5th degree – uncles and aunts
Get The Answers You Deserve
Are you unsure if you can seek legal damages against a driver or trucking company after an accident? Contact the Law Firm of Walter Gabriel to find out. You may be able to seek legal damages against a driver or trucking company after an accident. Click here to talk to a member of our team and get set up with an Atlanta big truck accident lawyer. We represent people across the entire state of Georgia.
Helping Families – Reduced Contingency Fee
If you have a family member who died due to the negligence of the driver of a tractor-trailer, we offer a reduced contingency arrangement. For any individual who retains the Law Firm of Walter Gabriel under this circumstance, we offer a contingency fee of 20% of the gross amount recovered for any wrongful death trucking case that settles before a lawsuit is filed. If the Law Firm of Walter Gabriel files a lawsuit, our contingency fee is only 30% of the gross amount recovered. We are able to provide a reduced contingency fee because we are confident that we will maximize your recovery for your family’s wrongful death claim related to a claim against a big truck company. We are very aware that the gap in what can be recovered in a trucking wrongful death claim can be substantial.
Common Causes of Big Truck Accidents
- There are various factors that result in big truck accidents. These include:
- Failure to maintain a safe distance from the car ahead
- If the tractor trailer driver failed to slow down in time to avoid a collision
- Failure to properly maintain equipment
- The driver is unlicensed (or has an expired or inadequate license)
- Improper loading
- Negligent operation of a vehicle on sharp turns
- Poor weather conditions
- Reckless driving
- Intoxicated driving
- Distracted driving (for example cell phone use)
When drivers of tractor trailers operate carelessly, it poses grave danger to innocent people. The average passenger vehicle weighs around 2.5 tons. Compare that to a big truck which can weigh up to 30 tons — and take longer to come to a complete stop. This puts other drivers at risk. The Law Firm of Walter Gabriel represents people who’ve been injured or killed in big truck accidents in Atlanta or other parts of Georgia. We also represent victims of big truck accidents in other parts of Georgia and in Louisiana.
Who Is Liable for Georgia Big Truck Accidents?
Big truck accidents often involve commercial vehicles in which the driver is an employee acting within the course and scope of their employment. Depending on the circumstances, you could sue and recover damages from the employer pursuant to various theories of liability.
When something called “vicarious liability” is established, this means the accident victim is potentially entitled to receive substantially more money in compensation as the company owning the truck often has several millions of dollars’ worth of liability insurance coverage.
Georgia Big Truck Accident Lawyer
Truck accidents — particularly those involving “big trucks,” or “18 wheelers” such as a trailer truck or large passenger bus — expose others on the road to life-threatening dangers when not operated properly. Though the negligent operation of a vehicle is always dangerous, the negligent operation of a truck may lead to an accident that has a higher chance of causing catastrophic injuries, or even death. Big trucks are not only less maneuverable than smaller vehicles, but the force of impact tends to be significantly greater due to the massive size and weight of these vehicles.
As such, the injuries suffered by the victims of a truck accident are more likely to cause people who survive from collisions with these trucks to sustain hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills, with no end in sight. On top of this, survivors might not be able to return to work because of short-term or long-term injuries. With bills to pay and families to support, these people often have nowhere else to turn. Crash data seems to support the above conclusions that big trucks are extremely dangerous.
Tractor-trailer operators are subject to a number of federal regulations that place strict regulations on how they operate their tractor-trailers. Some regulated items include speed, permitted routes, and working hours. Often, drivers break these regulations and put other people at risk.
We Encourage You to Contact Us
Why Choose Us? If you or a loved one sustained injuries in a big truck accident, we encourage you to contact the Law Firm of Walter Gabriel, LLC, who can help you secure the compensation that you and your family deserve. Attorney Walter Gabriel built a career representing the interests of those who sustained injuries in various personal injury scenarios, including accidents that involve big trucks. He has recovered millions of dollars for his clients.
The Law Firm of Walter Gabriel sends our thoughts and prayers to the Stuckey and Howard families. We are heartbroken that this tragedy robbed this beautiful family of their lives and all their hopes and dreams. We pray God made a place for them in heaven where they may rejoice for all eternity. The outpouring of love shared by friends and loved ones is a testament to the impact Jaroy, Elysea and A.J. left on everyone who knew them. They will not be forgotten.