• March 29, 2021

Hadly McCormick, Cinch Bullock Killed in Accident on US-56 near Satanta, KS

Satanta, KS -- March 26, 2021, 23-year-old Hadly McCormick and 19-year-old Cade Cinch Bullock were killed in a collision with a dump truck on U.S. Highway 56 near Satanta.

Authorities say the incident happened around 9:00 a.m. on US-56 west of town. Preliminary investigation suggests that McCormick and Bullock were traveling on the roadway in a Dodge pickup, driven by 21-year-old Ira Dickinson and pulling a horse trailer, headed to a college rodeo in Garden City.

Reports indicate Dickinson attempted to pass a 2003 Peterbilt dump truck driven by 49-year-old Jessie Eckert. During the pass the Dodge made contact with the dump truck's front bumper, causing the vehicles to swerve off the road in opposite directions. The dump truck traveled into the south ditch; the Dodge and its trailer traveled into the north ditch. The pickup rolled and the horse trailer detached.

McCormick and Bullock were killed in the crash. EMS transported Eckert and Dickinson to the Satanta District Hospital.

The accident remains under investigation. No further information is currently available.

Commentary on Pickup/Dump Truck Crash on US-56 near Satanta

It's important to realize that fault is often complex and layered in these situations, rather than attributable to a single factor like a faulty passing maneuver. That's not to say that part's irrelevant, but rather to point out that despite how reports paint this crash there's probably quite a few additional questions that need answers before the issue is really understood: How fast were the vehicles going? If the trucks collided, did the Dodge re-enter the lane too early or did the dump truck driver veer off-course slightly? Could the dump truck driver have done anything to make entering the lane easier for the Dodge, like slowing down slightly or steering partway onto the shoulder? If so, why didn't he? Were both trucks in proper working order? Did everyone involved act as a reasonably prudent person would have in the same situation?

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That last question may almost sound like I'm insulting one driver or the other, but the reasonable person standard is often applied in matters of liability. It's essentially the bar set for appropriate behavior in a given situation. If either driver didn't act as a reasonable person would have in their shoes, they may be liable for the accident. That's why it's so important to determine precisely what occurred and whether either or both drivers could have done something different to either avoid or mitigate the crash.

It's considerations like that which make determining fault far more complex than a simple "whodunit," and that's why a careful and thorough investigation must be conducted to find the victims and their families all the answers they deserve.

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