UPDATE: Gary Hiler Killed in 18-wheeler Accident in Carson County, TX
UPDATE (August 12, 2020): Reports identified the man killed in the crash as 69-year-old Gary Hiler. Additional details about the crash are currently unavailable.
Carson County, TX -- July 23, 2020, one person was killed following an accident where their vehicle and an 18-wheeler crashed on Highway 207.
Authorities with the Texas Department of Public Safety reported that the crash happened at around 9:30 a.m. at the intersection of Highway 207 and I-40.
According to police, a Ford Escape was traveling northbound on Highway 207. Reports said that vehicle apparently ran a stop sign, entering the path of an 18-wheeler traveling westbound on the I-40 service road. The two vehicles then collided.
As a result of the collision, the driver of the Ford succumbed to fatal injuries. It appears no one else was hurt. Police continue to look into the cause of the crash.
I talk to people all the time about complex commercial vehicle wrecks because I have decades of experience litigating them. Usually, the conversation centers around the possibility that there's more to the situation than reports are letting on. Every now and then, people come to me with crashes like this one assuming it's the exception to that. They're sometimes surprised to hear me say that even with reports like this, it's important to consider the possibility that something unusual caused the crash. That may not seem likely with a vehicle allegedly running a stop sign, but it's happened before.
I'm reminded of an accident out of West Texas that, while I didn't litigate it, offers an important lesson for those inexperienced with the complexity of accident investigations. The initial reports looked a lot like these: a driver reportedly ran a stop sign, and a truck t-boned him, killing him. Most people probably considered the matter closed there. A little while later, however, I was speaking with a friend of the firm who does accident reconstruction in that area. He revealed that investigations later found crucial evidence that changed the story.
It turned out that TxDOT had been in the area at the time doing construction work. While doing so, they removed the stop sign, but they failed to put it back when they left for the day. Clearly, the victim had no idea he even had to stop, and that led to a fatal collision.
Now, to be clear, I don't have any reason to believe that something like that happened here. My point is that these reports only offer a glimpse of the full picture. Jumping to conclusions without knowing more doesn't do anyone any good, especially the family affected by this tragedy. That's why it's best to have experienced independent investigators look into the details to make sure all the facts come to light.