Lori Maxwell Killed in 18-Wheeler Accident on I-35 in Franklin County, TX
Franklin County, KS -- October 29, 2021, 54-year-old Lori Maxwell was killed in a traffic collision involving a tractor-trailer on Interstate 35 in Franklin County.
Authorities say the incident happened around 8:23 p.m. along I-35 near Tennessee Road. Preliminary investigation suggests Maxwell was driving a Dodge Ram pickup truck and became involved in a road rage incident with the driver of a Jeep, later identified as Adrion Self. Reports suggest the Dodge tailgated the Jeep, sped up to drive parallel to it, and maintained close proximity to it for several miles. Near mile marker 193 Maxwell allegedly sped up to overtake the Jeep and then stopped abruptly, forcing Self to stop in the rightmost travel lane. Maxwell then exited the Dodge and started to approach the Jeep on foot while shouting.
The Jeep's occupants and another witness told investigators that as Maxwell approached an unidentified commercial semi-truck towing a trailer approached on I-35 and sideswiped the Jeep, then hit Maxwell as she stood by its driver door. The truck then continued southward on the interstate without stopping.
Maxwell was pronounced dead at the scene. Self and the Jeep's two passengers were unhurt.
Police are now seeking the hit-and-run truck, which a witness said may have had a blue bull rack cattle trailer attached.
No further information is currently available.
Commentary on Lori Maxwell Accident on I-35 in Franklin County
This is unfortunately far from the first time a supposed professional truck driver has left the scene after causing mayhem, and it's always frustrating to see. I have a very difficult time believing the driver didn't notice they hit both a vehicle and a person, but finding out what actually went through their head will require finding them first. If the witness's description of the trailer is accurate that may be a useful detail in tracking them down. Obviously it will help to keep any developments or new insights in the public eye as well, but if police remain diligent and the public cooperates I remain confident the truck will be located.
Once that's done there's still the pressing matter of making sure the driver and his employer are held responsible for the fatal damages caused to the victim. I understand there would almost inevitably be some dispute from the company about that considering she was standing by another vehicle in the roadway, but the question of liability relates primarily to whether the truck driver could reasonably have avoided hitting her. Unless she leapt from her pickup and sprinted to the Jeep's door during her fit of road rage, I don't see how the truck driver could argue she "jumped out in front of" the truck--an explanation favored by many drivers when they hit a pedestrian on the highway. So what happened? Was the truck driver's attention elsewhere besides the road? If so, where and why? That's just one area that needs careful attention once they're found.
Ultimately this matter requires more than just tracking down the truck, though that's a crucial preliminary step. If everyone works together I feel that can be accomplished in short order. Once the driver is apprehended and a little more sense can be made of this tragedy, attention can turn to holding them and the company behind them properly accountable for the loss of a human life on I-35.