Atlanta Boy Tragically Hit and Killed by Ice Cream Truck


October 26, 2011

Ice cream trucks beacon to children with their happy tune and sweet treats as they move down residential streets and park in front of schools.Unfortunately, there is no special screening or training to drive an ice cream truck.

In fact, many drivers simply ride along on a one-day trial, and the next day they are driving their ice cream truck down residential streets as the song plays over the speaker calling out to children like the pied piper. Almost everyone has seen a child run down the street or out the front door of a school as the school day ends to be first in line to purchase a sweet snack from an ice cream truck.

Sadly, the lack of driver training, inadequate screening or supervision of drivers, and the failure of school officials or public entities to provide clear restrictions and safe stops on roadways can make a moving ice cream truck a tragedy waiting to happen. Our condolences go out to the grief-stricken parents of two young boys from Southeast Atlanta who were hit by an ice cream truck this summer, including one who suffered fatal injuries. This sad, fatal pedestrian accident was as tragic as it was avoidable.

A Decatur man was driving an ice cream truck stopped in front of an apartment building to sell his treats. When the ice cream truck pulled away to leave, the truck stuck two different boys, Jaquanis Hannah, age 11, and Bollet Brown, age 7. Jaquanis was run over by the rear tire of the ice cream truck and fatally injured. Bollet was also taken to the emergency room with a broken leg.

The report regarding the incident in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is disturbing, if accurate. Apparently, the driver of the ice cream truck was aware that the boys were playing on the rear of the truck. The driver had requested that the parents get the children away from the vehicle. Despite being aware that the boys had been playing on the rear of the vehicle, he proceeded to drive away causing both boys to fall from the truck and be run over.

While the incident is still under investigation, the incident brings to mind the danger of negligently entrusting ice cream trucks to drivers. There are absolutely no special requirements that govern who can drive an ice cream truck or that mandate training for such drivers. Because ice cream trucks are likely to attract children to run out into the street trying to chase them down, it is important that drivers have proper training and supervision regarding how to avoid child pedestrian accidents.

The risk posed by child pedestrians being in the street when approaching an ice cream truck is compounded by the lack of visibility associated with most ice cream trucks. The drivers must rely on mirrors to see alongside the vehicle and should be trained in how to deal with obvious blind spots. The other safety hazard associated with ice cream trucks is that most lack backup cameras. It is highly foreseeable that children may be behind an ice cream truck. If the truck is not equipped with backup cameras or backup warning alarms, the driver should get out and physically check behind the vehicle before backing up. Unfortunately, this rarely happens as was apparently the situation in this fatal Atlanta pedestrian accident.

If your child is injured in a pedestrian accident involving an ice cream truck, there are a variety of negligent parties that might be responsible in a personal injury lawsuit including:

  • Truck Driver: The truck driver knows that children will be present and has an obligation to be highly attentive to the presence of children. When the driver is pulling away, he should be aware of any children present and their location in relationship to the vehicle.
  • Ice Cream Truck Company: Many times ice cream companies will hire truck drivers as independent contractors and claim that they are not liable if a child is hit by an ice cream truck. Our experienced Atlanta personal injury attorneys carefully analyze the relationship between the driver and the company to discover evidence of control exerted over the driver. The more the company controls the decisions and conduct of the ice cream truck driver the more likely the court will find an employment relationship. Even if a court determines that the truck driver is an independent contractor, we may be able to establish liability for negligent selection of the contractor or negligent entrustment of the truck. If the driver has a poor driving record with a history of accidents and tickets, the company cannot simply deem the driver an independent contractor and bury its head in the sand to avoid liability.
  • Public Entity: Depending on the specific facts of an ice cream truck accident, a public entity or school district may be liable for negligently maintaining the roadways or approving unsafe ice cream truck stops in front of a school.

Pedestrian accidents involving children are particularly heart wrenching, especially when they could be so easily avoided. A backup camera or simple check by the driver might have avoided this tragic ice cream truck accident. If your child is hit by an ice cream truck and suffers injury or even death, our compassionate and committed ice cream truck accident attorneys are committed to representing our clients in obtaining the financial compensation they deserve to obtain the best possible medical care and quality of life possible. We have been representing clients throughout Georgia and the Southeast for over 27 years, handling the legal and insurance issues so that our clients can focus on their recovery.

Our Atlanta truck accident lawyers are available to assist clients throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Personal Injury

Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.