On May 4, 2013, four members of the Karth family (a mother and the 3 youngest of her 9 children) drove from North Carolina to Texas to celebrate four family college graduations and the wedding of one of those siblings. While in Georgia, their car – in the right lane – was hit by a truck in the left lane that did not stop in time for slowed traffic and was charged with failure to maintain lane. The impact spun their car around and the truck hit their car a second time, forcing it backward and underneath a second truck’s trailer. That truck then also ran into the side of the second truck.


All four of the people were trapped and needed to be extricated with the Jaws of Life. Marianne and her son were in the front seat and survived the impact with injuries. AnnaLeah and Mary were in the back seat, which went underneath the trailer, and died as a result of catastrophic injuries.

In the aftermath of the Karth family’s devastating crash, the police have been unable to produce hours of service (HOS) logs for the truck driver. Given the truck driver’s actions and the lack of skid marks or other evidence of evasive maneuvers, and the absence of HOS logs, the Karths believe that driving over HOS limits and the resultant fatigue could have played a large part in the crash that killed AnnaLeah and Mary and injured Marianne and her son.

Additionally, the trucking carrier only held one million dollars in insurance to cover all of the damages involved in the crash. These damages include the loss of two lives and three
hospitalizations which included measures to save Mary’s life before she passed away, and
significant property damages. Two trucks were badly damaged and the Karth’s car was totaled.  One million dollars is woefully inadequate to cover even the loss of one life let alone multiple losses, medical care costs, and damages.

Our Crash Was Not An Accident

This website is dedicated to preventing more deaths from happening in truck-related crashes. Specifically, the Karth family is working to raise awareness about three issues related to truck safety: driver fatigue, minimum liability insurance levels, and underride guards. More information can be found on the pages specific to those issues.

This post summarizes our efforts in the aftermath of the crash to bring about a National Vision Zero Goal–moving our country closer to reducing crash deaths and serious injuries: Are you aware that Death by Motor Vehicle is one of the leading causes of death?

I met Ralph Nader in September 2016 at his Breaking Through Power Conference in DC. In June 2017, he asked me to write an Op-Ed on our efforts to bring about improved regulations for underride prevention: Harvard Law Record, digital copy posted on November 14, 2017 in “Opinion” Preventing Death by Underride

Marianne Karth and the Battle for Strong Truck Underride Guards, Corporate Crime Reporter, May 23, 2017

The family has also created a Facebook memorial page where they share memories, photos, and videos of the girls.   https://www.facebook.com/pages/In-Memory-of-AnnaLeah-1995-to-2013-and-Mary-Lydia-Karth-1999-to-2013/464993830249803 . Those posts can also be found at Journey Through Grief on this website:  http://annaleahmary.com/journey-through-grief/

Mary and AnnaLeah at Battle Park, Rocky Mount, NC
Mary and AnnaLeah at Battle Park, Rocky Mount, NC

Twitter Account: Marianne Karth @MaryandAnnaLeah

Here are some videos which tell our story and why we are asking for change in truck safety:



Here is a video which will help you to know our girls a little better: http://youtu.be/tpKdHfc_xFY

Bittersweet Memories: I am immeasurably thankful for the many photos and videos we have of AnnaLeah & Mary to help us remember the precious years of their lives here with us… http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCD-_wRmJmnZ3f5xBVXUe22A

August 6, 2015: I love having videos and photos of our girls. And I love being able to post them here so that I can see them any time. This post from May 2015 has quite a few videos and memories of the girls shared by other family members:  http://annaleahmary.com/2015/05/a-familys-joys-sorrows/

News articles from 2016:

AnnaLeah & Mary “Go to Washington”:

Bloomberg News articles, by Jeff Plungis & David Voreacos, about our story related to truck safety issues:

Consumer investigator, Kara Kenney reports on our underride crash and progress on improving underride guards:

Brie Handgraaf, who has interviewed us several times following the crash, wrote an article in August 2015 about the advanced notice of public rulemaking which NHTSA initiated on underride guards for Single Unit Trucks. Read it here in the Rocky Mount Telegram: 


Brie also wrote about our Vision Zero Petition & Underride Research project in October 2015: https://www.rockymounttelegram.com/news/advocates-garnering-signatures-3009111

Jim Strickland’s (consumer investigator) report on underride guards,  our crash, and the AnnaLeah & Mary Stand Up For Truck Safety Petition was on WSB-TV Atlanta’s evening news, August 1, 2014,  in two parts first at 4:45 p.m. and the second part at 6:15 p.m.: http://www.wsbtv.com/news/news/local/families-seek-reduce-fatal-tractor-trailer-acciden/ngtnD/ and http://bcove.me/vfrhezzh and again on December 10, 2015, when NHTSA announced the NPRM proposed rulemaking for rear underride protection improvement for tractor-trailers http://www.wsbtv.com/videos/news/new-rules-help-keep-you-safer-behind-big-rigs/vDf9Rt/

Jeremy Finley, investigative reporter from Nashville, TN, WSMV.com, reported on our crash  & NHTSA’s proposed rulemaking on tractor-trailers rear underride guards on January 21, 2016: WSMV Channel 4

Read his report here: http://www.wsmv.com/story/31026756/nthsa-aims-to-strengthen-safety-devices-that-have-failed-in-deadly-crashes

In October 2015, we attended a Sorrow to Strength Conference hosted by the Truck Safety Coalition in Washington, DC. During that time, we had some meetings on The Hill and I was interviewed by Geoff Bennett: http://www.ny1.com/nyc/all-boroughs/news/2015/10/30/us-dot-reconsiders-standards-for-rear-impact-safety-guards-on-tractor-trailers.html.

Care2 reported on our first petition: One Family’s Quest to Improve Truck Safety

In addition, there are numerous other news articles about the crash:

  • After our crash, we were contacted by volunteers from the Truck Safety Coalition–other people who had lost loved ones in truck crashes–and provided with helpful information and support in the wake of our tragedy.

    The Truck Safety Coalition is a partnership between The Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH) Foundation, and Parents Against Tired Truckers (P.A.T.T). The Truck Safety Coalition (TSC) is dedicated to reducing the number of deaths and injuries caused by truck-related crashes, providing compassionate support to truck crash survivors and families of truck crash victims, and educating the public, policy-makers and media about truck safety issues.

    We believe that the Truck Safety Coalition can provide you with helpful information on truck safety issues. To sign up for their newsletters and updates, please visit the Truck Safety Coalition’s website: http://trucksafety.org/


5 thoughts on “About

  1. This life is full of triumphs and tragedy. The Lord our God is our help and comfort to get thru all of it. I pray for your continued courage and strength.

  2. Hi:

    I also lost my son Riley Hein to an underride collision in 2015. Is there a way to contact you directly to see how I can help?



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