Lawsuit seeks $6M for dying of truck driver who crashed off facet of CBBT, died from hypothermia

NORTHAMPTON COUNTY, Va. (WAVY) — The spouse of a person who died from hypothermia after his tractor-trailer went off the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel has filed a lawsuit alleging negligence.

The lawsuit was filed in opposition to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel District, which operates the CBBT, in response to paperwork.


The lawsuit was filed Jan. 11, 2019 and calls for a $6 million judgement. A four-day jury trial is scheduled for July 14-17, 2020.

In keeping with an amended criticism filed in Might 2019, Billie Jo Chen, the spouse and administrator of Joseph Chen’s property, says the CBBT District was negligent when it diminished a Stage four wind restriction all the way down to a Stage 1 restriction round midday Feb. 9, 2017.

It additionally alleges negligence for a number of different causes, together with responders not utilizing rescue instruments for automobiles that drive off the bridge-tunnel.


Billie Jo Chen’s husband’s truck was blown off the sting of the CBBT and he spent about half an hour ready for rescue. He died from hypothermia shortly after he was rescued, the criticism states.

Joseph Chen, 47, was working a tractor-trailer for Evans Seafood Firm on Feb. 9, 2017 and was carrying solely pallets, as he was southbound on his return journey again to North Carolina.

He approached the CBBT whereas the realm was beneath a gale warning.


The CBBT District was beneath Stage four wind restrictions beginning round 7:30 a.m. that day resulting from wind speeds over 60 mph.

In keeping with the lawsuit criticism, tractor-trailers usually are not allowed to cross the CBBT throughout Stage four restrictions. Joseph Chen was pressured to cease on the north toll plaza of the CBBT.

Between 11 a.m. and midday, the CBBT recorded winds that “continued” above 47 mph with gusts over 50 mph, paperwork state.


The restriction was diminished to Stage 1 “on or round” 12:01 p.m., which means Joseph Chen may start driving southbound on the bridge-tunnel. He began crossing round 12:15 p.m.

Round 12:21 p.m. Joseph Chen’s tractor-trailer was blown by a gust into the guardrail, then via the barrier into the Chesapeake Bay.

The criticism says the excessive wind gusts continued previous midday, regardless of the Stage 1 restriction.


He was in a position to escape the trailer after which awaited rescue.

The water temperature was round 45 levels Fahrenheit on the time, paperwork say.

Whereas he waited, the wind continued to blow the trailer east.


Whereas the CBBT has instruments akin to rope, throw rings and extra to assist rescue operations, the lawsuit alleges none had been used to assist Joseph Chen.

Situations prevented a response by boat, so a U.S. Navy helicopter was referred to as to help.

Joseph Chen was discovered by the helicopter round 12:58 p.m. and was rescued round 1:01 p.m.


He was airlifted to Sentara Norfolk Common Hospital.

He was pronounced lifeless round 1:14 p.m. from hypothermia, in response to the criticism.