6-year-old Critically Injured in Truck Accident on Kuebler Boulevard in Salem, OR
Salem, OR -- December 1, 2021, a child was injured after an accident where a truck crashed into traffic along Kuebler Boulevard.
Investigators reported that the crash took place at around 4:00 p.m. along Kuebler Boulevard near 36th Avenue.
According to reports, a Kia Soul was traveling along Kuebler when it stopped for traffic. Doing so, a truck pulling a dump trailer did not slow down in time and hit the Kia and caused a chain-reaction involving at least three other vehicles.
A 6-year-old in the Kia sustained life-threatening injuries, and EMS transported the child to a hospital in Portland. Others hurt in the crash were treated at the scene. At this time, additional details are unavailable.
Commentary on Truck Accident on Kuebler Boulevard in Salem
It's infuriating enough when reports say a truck slammed into stopped traffic. It's even more concerning when that results in life-threatening injuries to a young child. Not only is it crucial to ensure there's accountability here, it's crucial to make sure all the right people are facing appropriate consequences. In my experience, authorities and less experienced attorneys put all their focus on the truck drivers. Maybe this all was just one person's mistake. But 30 years and hundreds of cases involving commercial vehicles taught me to always be thorough and look into the entire chain of events leading to the crash. It's possible there is more to this than just a single driver having a momentary lapse in judgment.
Let me explain why I say this. I had a case a while back involving a truck driver that caused a devastating crash after falling asleep at the wheel. It turned out he'd been driving for over 20 hours straight. That's about as reckless as it gets, so things seemed pretty open-and-shut. Our clients didn't really understand why we felt the need to keep digging, but it soon became clear.
Through continued investigations, we found out the driver was trying to meet an absolutely ridiculous deadlines his employer set for him. This company would routinely set ludicrous deadlines that all but required drivers to cut corners and make reckless decisions. If they didn't, they risked losing their jobs. Naturally, not every driver will feel comfortable risking unemployment when they have families to feed, so it was just a matter of time before one of those drivers made a mistake and got themselves or someone else hurt.
Situations like that are a lot more complex because there's more evidence that needs to be preserved, alternative legal tools to employ, and a company that will fight hard to avoid as much responsibility as possible. Think of it this way. Just about every family wants the same thing after they or someone they love is hurt by reckless driving: accountability. Getting help is obviously a priority, as well, but they want to be sure those responsible for their hardships are facing consequences. Would the consequences for a single driver making a single mistake be significant enough to hold an entire company accountable for continuing to put the public in danger? Of course not. They would need to face consequences significant enough to get them to clean up their act.
Just to be clear, I can't say what did or didn't happen here. For all I know, something unusual happened that the truck driver had no control over. I would never rule anything out without a more thorough investigation. That said, almost every crash I've handled like this involved someone making a serious mistake. Ensuring the victims and families involved have the right tools and experience working to tell their side of the story is vital. That would be true after any truck wreck, but that's especially important for getting a kid some much needed help.