• January 13, 2021

Thomas Carroll Killed in Accident at Henderson County, TX Intersection

Henderson County, TX -- January 11, 2021, 78-year-old Thomas Carroll was killed in a collision with another vehicle at a Henderson County intersection.

Authorities say the incident happened Monday morning at the crossing of Trey Circle and Farm to Market Road 1616. Carroll was reportedly driving west in a Toyota Sienna passenger van as a Dodge Ram 3500 pickup driven by 44-year-old Larry Webb was driving south on FM 1616. For reasons not yet understood, Carroll allegedly ran a stop sign at the intersection and was broadsided by the pickup truck. Both vehicles came to rest in the west ditch of FM 1616.

Carroll was pronounced dead at the scene. Webb was not reported as injured in the crash.

Authorities continue to investigate the incident. No further information is available at this time.

Commentary on Thomas Carroll Accident in Henderson County

When reading about an accident like this, some people will immediately begin to speculate about what a driver did wrong to cause the accident. Considering that reports mention Mr. Carroll apparently "disregarded" a stop sign, that will probably be all some people need to write the collision off to driver error. While it is possible that speeding or inattentive driving were factors, investigators should make sure not just at reasons he didn't stop, but also at reasons he might not have been able to stop.

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Here's an example of what I mean: Several years ago, General Motors was the center of a large controversy due to a fatal manufacturing defect in some of their vehicles. They had an ignition switch which periodically cut off power to the vehicle mid-drive and could be triggered by nothing more than heavy keys in the ignition. Drivers would travel at highway speeds and suddenly find themselves without power steering, anti-lock brakes, and even airbags. This caused over 100 driver deaths and hundreds more injuries.

To make matters worse, the issue was so unexpected and difficult to detect that no one knew about it for years. It took extensive professional investigations to connect the dots, and until then all those injuries and deaths were blamed on driver error. Only after the defect was found were victims and families able to pursue justice for their pain and loss.

To be clear, I'm not saying a mechanical failure was involved in this crash. My point is just that accidents often aren't as clear-cut as they may seem, and jumping to conclusions too early can do a lot more harm than good. That something like a car defect or a medical emergency is possible warrants additional care during investigation. Some explanations may be more likely than others, but a deeper look is crucial before anyone makes that judgment.

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