• December 14, 2021

Miranda Meckel Killed in Rear-End Crash with 18-Wheeler on TX-21 in Bryan

UPDATE (December 21, 2021): Reports have identified the victim of this accident as 26-year-old Miranda Meckel. The truck driver, 44-year-old Cheka McCoy, was reportedly unhurt.

Bryan, TX -- December 13, 2021, one person was killed in a rear-end collision with a tractor-trailer on State Highway 21 in west Brazos County.

Authorities say the incident happened around 6:20 p.m. on TX-21 near Pleasant Hill Road. Preliminary investigation suggests the victim's Toyota Yaris was traveling west on the roadway when it collided with the trailer of a Mack 18-wheeler that was pulling out of a private business' entrance and starting to turn left onto the eastbound highway.

The victim suffered fatal injuries in the crash. No other injuries were reported.

No further information is currently available.

Commentary on Miranda Meckel Accident on TX-21 in Bryan

UPDATE (December 21, 2021): Later reports about this incident suggest the truck driver failed to yield the right-of-way while exiting the private drive. Considering how often things like that happen, its implications should be considered.

Even if reports indicate a commercial driver is responsible for an accident like this one, I have many times had to explain to people that won't necessarily mean the driver and their employer have to agree. They are free to dispute questions of liability no matter who points fingers at them, be it news sources or police reports. They have assets and reputations to protect and I can say after decades of experience that they'll fight hard to do so. Ultimately that often means they'll send out investigators of their own to pick the crash apart and look for other things to blame besides their driver's negligence. Sometimes that might involve blocked sightlines, others a mysterious mechanical problem in the truck, but in many cases the company ultimately comes back and blames the victim for their own injuries.

If that seems heartless I understand, but trucking defense attorneys are not shy about saying victims were speeding, not paying attention, or not wearing their seat belts just before they crashed, any or all of which might deflect attention and fault away from where it truly belongs. The burden of proving the commercial driver's negligence was the key factor falls to victims and their families, which can be quite a hill to climb in a period where they're just starting to cope with their injuries or loss.

Sometimes victims can't figure out where to start, and they call the firm primarily for advice on what to do. I often tell them it's a good step to work with independent crash investigators who will look into things on their behalf. Police seek evidence of crimes and trucking company investigators want the company off the hot seat, so unfortunately neither can be counted on to find evidence that helps the people suffering the crash's aftermath. To help ensure that proof is found and right parties are held properly accountable, it's often best to let independent experts take action and round up clear, indisputable facts telling the whole story.

Miranda Meckel Killed in Rear-End Crash with 18-Wheeler on TX-21 in Bryan

ORIGINAL: Reports say the victim hit the back of the 18-wheeler, which was exiting a nearby private drive. I don't expect police to have all the answers right away, but that does mean there are some frustrating unanswered questions about exactly how and why things happened the way they did. How fast was the car traveling? Was the truck fully pulled into the roadway from the private drive, or still in the process of leaving it? Did the truck driver wait to turn, yielding to passing traffic on the road? Could they have seen the victim's car approaching? If the truck fully turned, how long was it in the road before the car approached? Did anything obstruct visibility or sightlines in the area? Is the roadway lit at night (sundown was at 5:25 that day)? Were both vehicles' lights working and activated? Could any other factors have been involved?

I'm not asking these questions to try and muddy the waters or arrange facts so I can blame anyone or anything specific. I'm only saying that right now the picture of what occurred is not complete and the unknown details could drastically change how the collision is understood. A crash caused by a speeding or distracted driver might look the same as one caused by a trucker failing to yield and blocking traffic, but the law would treat those situations quite differently. For the sake of all those involved it's important to get all the facts and the evidence conclusively proving what happened. If any further action is warranted, knowing that would depend largely on what is learned during a careful and thorough investigation.

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