• November 22, 2021

Gary Frank Killed in 18-Wheeler Hit-and-Run on TX-105 in Montgomery County

UPDATE (December 15, 2022): On Thursday, December 8, a Montgomery County jury sentenced truck driver Matthew Davis to 13 years in prison for the hit-and-run accident that took the life of Gary Frank.

Montgomery County, TX -- November 5, 2021, 67-year-old Gary Frank was killed in a hit-and-run collision with a commercial truck on State Highway 105 in Montgomery County.

Authorities say the incident happened shortly after 7:30 p.m. at TX-105 and Mt. Mariah Road. Preliminary investigation suggests 36-year-old Matthew Davis was driving a semi-truck with a "lowboy" flatbed trailer on Mt. Mariah when he reportedly failed to stop for a posted sign at the Highway 105 intersection. While turning west, Davis failed to yield the right-of-way to Frank's eastbound Ford F-150 pickup truck. The pickup crashed into the back of the 18-wheeler and received major damage. Davis then drove the semi-truck west, away from the collision, without stopping.

Gary Frank, reportedly ejected during the collision, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Investigators gathered evidence at the scene including security footage from a nearby business that captured images of the runaway big rig. After releasing those images to the public, police received tips leading them to Davis's address. They interviewed Davis at the scene and found the truck and trailer, which exhibited signs of tampering and attempts to cover evidence of the collision. Davis was arrested on a charge of failure to stop and render aid-accident involving death.

No further information is currently available.

Commentary on Gary Frank Accident in Montgomery County

When an 18-wheeler turns into oncoming traffic at an intersection with seemingly-clear sightlines, that suggests the trucker wasn't paying proper attention to his surroundings. That he compounded his error by fleeing the scene and then possibly trying to cover up the evidence of what happened increases the urgency of this matter.

To think not only that someone caused injury and fled the scene, but also that the suspect is a professional driver, is hugely concerning. I'm glad to learn that public cooperation led authorities to locate the runaway driver and I hope further investigation can now shed some light on what could possibly have gone through his head to make him take off.

In some cases a hit-and-run driver simply panics and takes off. Typically however those who just lost their heads in the moment later reach out to police or turn themselves in. It seems from reports that a third party had to step in and tip the authorities off, suggesting the driver was not keen to set things right. That seems reinforced by his alleged attempts to erase evidence from his truck and trailer. If he went to such lengths that could mean he had other motives for staying hidden, such as illegal contraband in his truck or possibly even driving under the influence of an intoxicant.

Gary Frank Killed in 18-Wheeler Hit-and-Run on TX-105 in Montgomery County

Of course, neither he nor his employer are likely to cop to any such issue or admit liability for the incident. I don't mean to be cynical, but long experience in this field has shown me that no matter the initial details of an accident it can generally be assumed that an at-fault truck driver and his company will heatedly dispute the suggestion they're to blame. Heartless as it may seem to blame the victim here, it's important for his family to know they'll probably hear him accused of speeding or "improper evasive maneuvers," or that visibility was limited and the driver "didn't realize he hit anyone." Proving that the victim was in the right typically requires abundant clear evidence to make sure such blame-shifting tactics can't be successfully used.

Ultimately my point is that nobody should consider this all tied up even though (thankfully) the runaway driver was caught. If there are no extenuating circumstances and he simply fled to try and avoid facing the music for his carelessness then criminal charges certainly seem appropriate. However, those charges won't help the victim's loved ones as they struggle with their loss--nor does it do anything to address any negligence by a company willing to have a driver like that on their payroll. It seems only just that the company behind the driver forward and do what's right, but it's important not to assume that will happen without taking all the necessary steps to hold them accountable.

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