Broken Bow, OK — A fatal chain-reaction accident between two pickup trucks and an 18-wheeler left two men dead last Friday, March 22, 2013. Roger Scott, 65, of Clarksville, TX was identified by the Oklahoma Highway Patrol as one of the two deceased men in the incident.
According to the news reports, the first accident happened at about 11:00 a.m. along Highway 259, about 7 miles north of Broken Bow. Troopers said that a pickup truck was headed north when it came upon a group of stopped cars. The driver swerved into the southbound lanes to avoid a collision, but was hit by an oncoming 18-wheeler. The 18-wheeler then swerved into the northbound lanes and hit Scott’s pickup truck, killing him immediately.
The driver of the first pickup truck was also killed and authorities identified him as 65-year old Broken Bow resident James Hershel. It wasn’t clear if Scott was stationary or was in the group of stopped cars when the 18-wheeler crashed into his vehicle, but an investigation was being conducted by the OHP. The 18-wheeler’s driver was not injured by the wreck.
Scene of the Accident
When I read about this accident in the news, I noticed that the positioning of the second pickup truck wasn’t given. It seems clear that the first driver swerved into oncoming traffic to avoid a wreck. When the 18-wheeler swerved into the southbound lanes, was the second pickup truck stopped with the group of cars? Was it moving? The reason for my questions is that there may be liability on the 18-wheeler driver if he took faulty evasive action and swerved into another vehicle on the road.
Of course, the investigation is likely still being conducted and my thoughts her are just speculative. Accidents certainly happen all the time and a great deal of them are unavoidable, but sometimes accidents can be made worse when drivers panic or make unsafe maneuvers. 18-wheeler drivers are trained as professionals and ought to know how to handle their rig in the event of an accident. If the truck driver failed to evasive action due to inattention, some liability exist. Still, the lion’s share of the liability will likely be on the driver who was the proximate cause of the accident.
Reading about accidents like this sometimes sparks ideas about how the law might apply to different situations, and I like to share them in hopes that someone else might be a bit more informed when it comes to the trucking industry. The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that there are approximately 500,000 accidents per year that involve commercial vehicles. My aim is to spread awareness about these accidents and try to prevent as many of them from happening as I can.