A 21-year-old Everett man arrested after a fatal chain-reaction crash on Interstate 5 on Friday, August 18, could be the first person to be charged under the state’s year-old “Maria’s Law,” which makes failure to secure a load a criminal act when someone is injured or killed. The law is named for Maria Federici, a Renton woman blinded and permanently disfigured when a piece of particle board from a home entertainment unit flew off a trailer, impaling her windshield and shattering her face as she drove south on I-405 in February 2004. Gavin Coffee, 43, of Lake Forest Park is the deceased victim of the August 18, 2006 collision.
The family of the decedent, including a surviving spouse and children, should file a wrongful death claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company regardless of whether or not the driver is convicted of a crime. If another person loaded the vehicle from which the debris fell and caused the accident, the family may also file a claim with that person’s insurance company.