Pedestrian Struck, Killed by 18-Wheeler on M-115 in Clam Lake Township, MI
Clam Lake Township, MI -- December 1, 2021, a pedestrian was struck and killed by a commercial 18-wheeler on State Highway 115 in Wexford County.
Authorities say the incident happened around 6:10 p.m. on M-115 near Mackinaw Trail. Preliminary investigation suggests only that the pedestrian attempted to cross the highway and stepped into the path of an oncoming tractor-trailer, which hit and fatally injured them in the travel lanes.
No further information is currently available.
Commentary on Auto-Pedestrian Accident on M-115 in Clam Lake Twp
Some people tend to write off auto-pedestrian accidents like this as the pedestrian's fault for walking in or across a busy highway. The common feeling is that pedestrians know and accept the risks of entering a busy thruway, but the law is considerably more nuanced and situational than that. When considering an accident like this prudent investigators look into its full context and determine how avoidable it should have been.
Put simply, all drivers have an obligation to avoid any accident they can. The law expects them to do anything reasonably within their power to keep a collision from occurring even in situations where they have the technical right-of-way. That standard of care is actually elevated for professional truck drivers, since they are meant to receive specialized training in the safe operation of their vehicles.
If a reasonably prudent professional driver doing everything they're supposed to (hands on the wheel, sober, eyes on the road, traveling the speed limit, headlights on and working, etc) couldn't have avoided the collision with the victim on M-115, then it would be unfair to blame them for what occurred. However, if it's found they could have stopped or steered away from the victim--regardless of who had the right-of-way--then learning precisely why they didn't is crucial.
I don't say any of that to imply the truck driver did anything wrong. I'm only saying that this incident, like most crashes, need more answers to properly understand it. Exactly where did the pedestrian step into the roadway? How long were they there before the truck came along? Can anyone say why they might have entered the road at that time? This happened after sundown, so does that stretch of road have any lights? Did anything prevent the truck driver from noticing the victim or vice versa? Would a reasonably prudent professional driver have done everything the same way the trucker did?
Every crash deserves careful and thorough investigation to ensure the whole truth is found. Even if further analysis just confirms preliminary reports, the victim's loved ones deserve to know that every effort was made to find all the facts for them.