Crystal Zeigler, Cristina Lovejoy Killed in Auto Accident on I-45 in Willis, TX
Willis, TX -- December 2, 2021, 51-year-old Crystal Zeigler and 59-year-old Cristina Lovejoy were killed in a crash with a big rig on I-45 in Montgomery County.
Authorities say the incident happened around 5:25 a.m. along I-45 near Longstreet Road in Willis. Preliminary investigation suggests traffic in the area backed up in response to a previous accident two miles up the road. Reports indicate a man driving a Ford Expedition lost control for unknown reasons while approaching traffic and hit a Kenworth tractor-trailer, then rebounded into a second big rig.
Zeigler and Lovejoy, passengers in the Ford, received fatal injuries in the accident. Neither was said to be wearing a seat belt at the time. The driver's service dog also died, while the driver himself suffered serious injuries and was transported to an area hospital. No other injuries were reported.
No further information is currently available.
Commentary on Crystal Zeigler and Cristina Lovejoy Accident in Willis
People may read initial news reports about this tragic accident and conclude the SUV driver made some kind of mistake that ultimately caused it. It seems he lost control while approaching traffic, but it's important to note that no one can say why that happened yet and some explanations would mean the collision was actually out of the driver's hands. That's why it's important to consider whether any other factors--things potentially missed in the preliminary investigation--could be involved.
Looking into those possibilities usually means asking questions beyond the most basic ones. For instance: How fast was the Ford traveling as it approached traffic? Was the commercial truck stopped, or was it also headed toward the congestion? Were both vehicles in working order--good brakes, functional safety equipment, working lights, etc? Was everyone paying full attention to their surroundings? If not, why not? If the semi-truck was still moving did the driver slow gradually for traffic or did he brake abruptly and surprise the Ford driver? Could visibility, road conditions, or weather have played a part?
I don't mean to muddy the waters here or say preliminary reports are wrong. I'm only saying what I often do: When people are hurt or killed in serious accidents, there must be a thorough investigation that properly evaluates all the possible reasons for that--even less-likely ones. It could be that such analysis would just find or confirm a simple explanation, but only after the job is done right can anyone be sure. The victims' loved ones deserve no less than the whole truth, and finding it often means digging deeper than police typically do.