• March 15, 2019

Derick Abshire Struck, Killed by 18-Wheeler at Port of Wilma Complex in Clarkston, WA

Clarkston, WA -- On March 14, 2019, 33-yar-old Derick Abshire was struck and killed by a tractor-trailer at the Port of Wilma Shipping Complex on the Snake River.

According to the Whitman County Sheriff's OFfice, the incident happened Thursday morning shortly before 7:30 a.m. Abshire had stopped his semi truck, owned by Excel Transport, near Wilma Road at the Port of Wilma to place a tarp over the contents of his rig's trailer. As he worked, two semi-trailers heading in opposite directions reportedly passed his location. One of the trucks hit and fatally injured him.

Authorities continue to investigate the circumstances of the crash.

Map of the Area

Commentary

Until investigators have more time to put this puzzle together it's going to be hard to say not only what happened, but who should be considered responsible for it.

That will likely be determined mostly by learning the precise positioning and timing of Abshire, his truck, and the other 18-wheeler that hit him. In defending their driver, the second truck's employer will likely suggest that Abshire was not far enough off the road to avoid injury, or that their driver was forced too close to Abshire by the truck headed the opposite way.

Whether any of that is true will have to be established by a careful and thorough investigation, and I'm not sure if the local authorities have the wherewithal to uncover the real truth of the wreck.

I don't say that to undermine the important work that police do, but it's no small secret that many law enforcement departments are stretched pretty thin. Many don't have the time, training, or resources to thoroughly investigate incidents like this. Even if officers use the tools at their disposal and do their best to understand a crash scene, they may not have the advanced equipment needed to dig as deep as possible. The less clear a crash initially is, the more likely it is that crucial details will go unnoticed.

That's why after incidents like this one, I always advise working with a private accident reconstruction expert to look into the crash. These independent investigators are trained and equipped to get every bit of evidence from the scene, from creating laser-maps of the crash to running hundreds of advanced 3-D simulations and analyzing Electronic Control Module data from the vehicles involved.

Some people might call that extra work "overkill," but here's the thing--overkill doesn't exist for investigations. Every fact that can be uncovered should be. A thorough investigation may confirm a plain explanation or a clear cause, but only after doing everything one can to learn the truth can anyone say that for sure.

--Grossman Law Offices

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