• November 19, 2021

Korey Bowers, Emma Nelson Killed in Tractor-Trailer Accident in Hawk Springs, WY

Hawk Springs, WY -- November 17, 2021, Korey Bowers and Emma Nelson were killed due to an accident where a tractor-trailer hit their car.

Investigators reported that the crash took place at around 10:00 p.m. south of town along US Highway 85.

According to Wyoming Highway Patrol officials, 18-year-old Korey Bowers and 19-year-old Emma Nelson were in a Ford Taurus that was stopped on US 85, reportedly with its left turn signal activated. Authorities say they then attempted to turn right onto Highway 313. As they did so, a tractor-trailer was reportedly attempting to pass them on the right shoulder. This caused the vehicles to collide as the Ford turned.

Bowers and Nelson both sustained serious injuries which ultimately proved fatal. Reports did not release any additional details.

Commentary on Korey Bowers, Emma Nelson Tractor-Trailer Accident in Hawk Springs

As a commenter pointed out to me, Highway Patrol officials believe the victims' vehicle had its left turn signal on before then attempting to turn right while the tractor-trailer passed on the shoulder. I've revised the article to reflect this information. The commenter also points out that it would be legal in Wyoming to pass someone on the right shoulder if that person is slowing or stopped to make a left turn.

If true, and I have no particular reason to doubt these claims, it would certainly paint a situation where the truck may have done nothing wrong and was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. The only reason I would caution folks against simply putting their pin in that explanation and moving on is the fact that the victims aren't around to tell their side of the story.

Imagine being in a situation where you've lost a loved one. The reports indicate they may have made a mistake, knowingly or not, and that led to their death. If you knew there were several witnesses, forensic evidence to back up those facts, and experts corroborating these reports, that may at least provide some sense of closure. But if it turns out those facts just come from a quick glance at the scene and a statement from the only surviving driver involved in the crash, wouldn't there be a strong desire to make sure investigators didn't miss anything important?

Korey Bowers, Emma Nelson Tractor-Trailer Accident Hawk Springs, WY

I've had cases like that where it turned out the survivor's account was less than accurate. Take for example a case where police said the driver of a car crossed the center line and hit an 18-wheeler head-on. When we actually dug into the evidence, however, it turned out the car did that because it was swerving to avoid the 18-wheeler which crossed into their path first. The investigating officer was inexperienced and lacked the proper equipment, so they just went with the truck driver's explanation and moved on. Had there not been more thorough investigations, the truth may never have come to light.

Just to be absolutely clear, I know folks are going to see all this as me trying to blame this truck driver. That's not at all my purpose. The example I gave is a particularly troubling example, but it's just one case. I've also had plenty of situations where our independent investigations simply confirmed the police reports, showing that the truck driver really did do all they could to avoid the crash. Doing that, however, still helps to confirm the details in the reports and rule out other possible factors police could overlook, such as the speeds of the vehicles, potentially defective safety equipment, worn brakes or tires, or even poorly designed roadways.

I don't ever encourage looking for someone to blame. I only advocate for all the facts to be considered and passed to the families that deserve to know they're getting the full story. The highway patrol is clearly looking into this awful tragedy, but are steps being taken to make sure nothing important slipped through the cracks?

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