Timothy Donnelly Killed in 18-wheeler Accident in St. Lucie County, FL
St. Lucie County, FL -- February 12, 2020, Timothy Donnelly was killed following an accident where his vehicle and an 18-wheeler crashed head-on.
Investigators with the Florida Highway Patrol reported that the crash happened at around 2:30 p.m. off the corner of Johnston Road and Russos Road.
Troopers said that 28-year-old Timothy Donnelly was driving a MErcury Grand Marquis southbound along Johnston Road (43rd Avenue). Reports claim that his vehicle went left of center into the path of an oncoming 18-wheeler. The truck driver reportedly veered left to avoid the collision, but the vehicles crashed head-on.
As a result of the crash, Donnelly succumbed to fatal injuries. No one else was hurt.
At this time, police continue to investigate the details surrounding the crash.
I'm going to be a bit blunt here. Certain details in the news make me skeptical that we're getting all the details surrounding this tragic event. To be clear, I don't have any evidence other than what the news says. I don't want to suggest I know something here that no one else does. However, I do have 30 years of experience litigating cases that had similar fact patterns to this one. It's important that investigators really look into the evidence surrounding the crash to make sure they have their facts straight.
The reason I bring this up is because reports said the 18-wheeler driver veered left to avoid hitting Mr. Donnelly's vehicle. Now, this is a very narrow stretch of road. If any vehicle veers to the left, it's going to take a fraction of a second for them to end up in the oncoming lane. So, if the reports are accurate, then the 18-wheeler would have likely ended up in the oncoming lane after this crash happened. If that's the case, how do investigators know that the truck veered left to avoid the victim rather than the truck crossing over and causing the wreck?
If my skepticism sounds unreasonable, I'll give you an example of why it's important to look into these things. I litigated a case where, according to initial reports, a car driver crossed the center line and hit an 18-wheeler head-on. The family hired us on to look into the crash simply because they wanted to make sure they were getting the full story. We often take on cases only to look into them and find that police got it right the first time, but we've also seen countless times where they missed something. One thing that stood out to us immediately was that there were no witnesses to the crash except the sole survivor, the driver of the truck. When we began digging, the forensic evidence began to paint a disturbing picture.
Based on the evidence, the police in that case got it wrong. What really happened was the truck driver initially crossed the center line, so the victim veered left to avoid hitting the truck. The truck driver, however, noticed his mistake and swerved back into his original lane. There, the two vehicles collided head-on. The police got their info based solely on the truck driver's statements, which obviously turned out to be less than truthful, and a cursory glimpse of the crash site. Thanks to our findings, the victim's loved ones were able to hold the trucking company accountable for the crash.
Again, I'm not saying that's what happened here. Like I said, the evidence could confirm what reports here said. Police may have witnesses and evidence from the scene to support their series of events. But if there's anything I've learned after hundreds of truck wreck cases, it's that leaving these things up to chance simply isn't worth it. A young man lost his life in this crash, and even the tiniest red flag surrounding these events warrants attention. Experienced investigators should look into this so that the victim's loved ones know they're getting the full story.