Mariposa County, CA — On January 29, 2019, 82-year-old Kenneth Keuning was killed when his vehicle collided with a garbage truck in Mariposa County.
Authorities say the wreck happened just after 1:00 p.m. in the Bootjack area of Mariposa County. A Volvo garbage truck was headed north near Wass Road and prepared to take a right-hand curve. A southbound Subaru Forester driven by Keuning was entering the curve at the same time. The Subaru reportedly crossed over the yellow center line of the roadway as it went through the curve; it collided head-on with the garbage truck in the northbound lane.
Keuning was pronounced dead at the scene. The unnamed truck driver, 64, suffered moderate injuries and was taken to John C. Fremont Hospital in Mariposa.
Authorities in Mariposa County continue to investigate the incident.
Map of the Area
The news seems to indicate that investigators are confident Keuning was the one who crossed over the road’s center line. I don’t have reason to doubt them, but I would still think that a thorough investigation is in order, and I’m not always positive that local law enforcement has the chops to look deep into an accident as complicated as one involving a commercial vehicle.
I don’t say that to undermine all the valuable work that police do, but rather to note that many police departments are stretched pretty thin. They don’t always have the funding, equipment, training, or time to carefully investigate incidents like this, which require an investigator’s undivided attention.
Even if officers pay careful attention to the scene, they may not have the advanced equipment needed to dig deeper. The more complex or layered the crash is, the more likely that subtle-but-crucial details will slip through the cracks.
That’s why after crashes like this one, I always advise working with a private accident reconstruction expert to look into the crash. Independent investigators are trained and equipped to get every shred of evidence from the scene, from creating laser-maps of the crash to running advanced 3-D simulations and collecting Engine Control Module data from the vehicles involved.
Some people may call all this preparation overkill. After all, the police already said they know what happened, right? That’s actually sort of a problem, because most crashes really aren’t so simple. A more thorough investigation may confirm the police’s estimate, but only after checking out less likely factors can anyone say that for sure.
–Grossman Law Offices