• October 29, 2021

Leon Wallace Jr. Killed in 18-Wheeler Accident on US-165 in Allen Parish, LA

Allen Parish, LA -- October 27, 2021, 59-year-old Leon Henry Wallace Jr. was killed in a collision with a commercial 18-wheeler on U.S. Highway 165 in Allen Parish.

Authorities say the incident happened just before 7:30 p.m. on US-165 near Pawnee road. Preliminary investigation suggests Wallace was traveling south on the highway in a GMC Sierra pickup near a Kenworth tractor-trailer driven by 53-year-old James Gowen. Reports indicate the semi-truck was southbound in a merging lane next to to the left travel lane where Wallace was driving. Gowen began to merge from his lane into the left lane, at which point the semi-trailer hit the left front quarter of the GMC pickup.

Wallace, reportedly wearing a seat belt at the time, suffered fatal injuries in the collision. Gowen was unhurt.

The crash remains under investigation, and samples were collected from both parties for toxicological testing.

No further information is currently available.

Commentary on Leon Wallace Jr. Accident on US-165 in Allen Parish

This accident seems pretty straightforward on paper--a truck driver allegedly made an unsafe lane merge and hit the victim's pickup. What else is there to know?

Having said it's clear-cut in theory, I should say that in practice just about any crash involving a commercial truck is much less simple to resolve. Commercial trucking firms aren't exactly known for accepting liability even when their drivers seem pretty clearly at fault. Anyone seeking help from such a company after their employee causes injury needs plenty of clear evidence showing what really happened or else risks the company being highly uncooperative about taking responsibility.

To make sure the company can't offer a variety of excuses reasons why their driver's behavior wasn't the root cause of this fatal accident, it may fall to the victim's family to accumulate the necessary proof. Police will construct a rough sketch of events but often lack the time or resources to dig deeper into the less-obvious details that can make so much difference. A more comprehensive investigation is often needed to make sure all the relevant information is accounted for. Unless their defenses about the victim being distracted or the sun in their driver's eyes are shut down with evidence, trucking companies often manage to dodge accountability no matter how devastating a crash is.

Leon Wallace Jr. Killed in 18-Wheeler Accident on US-165 in Allen Parish, LA

Another reason to take swift action is because there are certain challenges baked into Louisiana's state laws that make just about any crash tough for victims. Of particular concern is the state's statute of limitations, which requires victims and their families to file any potential injury or wrongful death claims within one year of their crash. Most other states give people at least two years to do so, but the Bayou State's history and legal system are fairly unique.

With just half the available time granted to residents of other states it's easy for that filing deadline to sneak up on people--especially when they're busy with just trying to survive and recover after the wreck. Moreover, it's within some trucking firms' bag of tricks to promise victims and families a resolution "once the investigation is complete," only to kick the can far enough down the road for the SOL to expire. If the victims miss the filing deadline imposed by statute, they are barred from doing so.

It's because of complications like those that I hope those involved are taking steps as soon as possible to investigate the facts of this tragic accident and to get the help they need.

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