My beloved wife Tamara Mills-Hadley was only 32 years old when she lost her life. She was the passenger in a car that underrode an illegally parked truck trailer on April 14, 1993. This new model trailer was equipped with the 1953 style of underride guard (guillotine guard). There were no triangles placed on the roadway and parking lights were not lit. There was a heavy fog and no street lighting. The trailer was without modern tape. The speed limit was 40 m.p.h., a fatal speed for stiff underride devices. It was parked in front of a County Sheriff’s office multiple times in full view of staff.
There were brand new no parking signs to the front and the rear of the truck on this high speed County roadway in front of a Sheriffs Station. The truck driver was not cited. He was allowed to continue parking on this no parking roadway in the same spot he had killed my wife, our pleas for justice were ignored! He continued to park on this unlit County unincorporated roadway in the fog. The investigating officer when informed the truck was required to place triangles leaned over two days after my wife’s death and said,” Whom are they going to believe me or you!” He claimed, “Moonlight equals street lighting for the Federal Regulations” and the prosecutor concurred although questioning I might be right in the points I was making . The Federal agencies refused for years to contradict this opinion from the County running up our case cost, eventually, we were bankrupted out of the case and our attorney said, “settle or I quit!” The County, in interrogatories said, “the paved shoulder on this roadway was outside of any laws.” The Sheriff got an inch from my face and screamed he would not charge or ticket the truck. When we called police and informed them the truck was still parking in fatal parking location again in the fog the responding Deputies refused to ticket the truck as he had to be able to see no parking signs to the front and back of the truck from the cab, the one right in the middle of the view from the cab did not matter. We could clearly see the truck right in the middle of the Sheriff’s office picture window. No action was taken until we called and reported the illegally parked truck with no lights and no triangles placed even after killing someone.
The truck driver failed all four parking questions on his company exam, no action or retraining occurred. The truck driver had no formal training. He did not use company parking to save 10 minutes, he saved two minutes not placing triangles. Triangles would have extended visibility outside of the fog bank, first witness on the scene said side of trailer from across road was not visible. He was never tested for drugs or alcohol. Our daughters were cheated out of justice and even to have a single day in court to say you killed our mother. Public officials will lie in interrogatories to run up your case costs to bankrupt you out of your case. There is no penalty. If you have limited funds save your money to fight in court. We were never allowed to speak to the County Prosecuting Attorney to file complaints about misconduct of officers and officials or about our case. They informed me incorrectly how to file case and County was let out of case on technicality, we had informed County verbally we were filing case but not in writing 30 days in advance. The trucking company was the largest employer in our County. Justice exists only for the wealthy and powerful in America. She left behind our two daughters, Jade and Crystal. They lost the greatest mom that ever lived. I lost the greatest person I have ever known.
This was a complex case that involved other issues with the car driver. These warnings are for other victims to not trust all parties involved in an investigation or litigation. Trucking companies make political donations to Sheriff’s and Prosecutors and Judges. Violations by the truck or driver may be banned from inclusion in a case, the driver may not be investigated for drugs, alcohol, or fatigue. If tape is dirty it can decrease visibility of the truck by 90%, it will probably not be checked. Were triangles placed on the roadway as required by Federal Regulations, usually not checked and declared legally parked in press and accident reports. Truck parked or stopped in crash lane without flashers, probably not checked, no one cares about hazards next to high speed roadways, probably a 25 mph roadway to stop on with far less hazard nearby. Did truck driver render assistance or call for help, on board fire extinguisher, triangles, crow bar on board, or medical kit? Jack up trailer to move car, etc. Frankly, if not consider criminal prosecution! Save your money for trial, most victims are bankrupted out of their cases with some investigations and interrogatories that could be left for trial to save limited resources, especially if you are paying by the hour.
Tammy would want to help other victims, especially, the disabled and kids her two passions in life. Tammy had a very simple philosophy of life, love with all of your heart, enjoy life, share with those you meet, and do not waste time worrying about life’s little problems. We lived a simple life with our children. Tammy always had a great affinity for children, and we only took one vacation without our kids.
Tammy worked with disabled kids until she became pregnant with our first daughter, she was illegally dismissed for being pregnant from her County position, a career she hoped to build working with disabled kids. She then went on to college and received her degree in Early Childhood Education. She taught preschool off and on for the rest of her life. She always dreamed of going back to school so she could work with those disabled children again. Children loved her because she did not hide her heart.
Together with our friends we started a Christmas charity for abused and battered women and children, and when she was with us to provide the energy, we also included the local children’s hospital. It has been very successful, we recently were recognized for our efforts by the Y.W.C.A., but now along with the joy, there are the memories of who is not there with us. Her love, spirit, and joy will always be with us.
I was very honored that she chose to share her life with me, we are all richer for having known and loved her. All we can do now is honor her memory, and continue to love her with all that we are and do.
Take a minute and place triangles, save a life!