Jeffrey Blastic Killed in Rear-End Crash with 18-Wheeler on Grange Rd in Westphalia Twp, MI
Westphalia Township, MI -- December 20, 2021, Lansing man Jeffrey Blastic was killed in a rear-end collision with a tractor-trailer on Grange Road in Clinton County.
Authorities say the incident happened around 8:30 a.m. near the intersection of Grange and Lehman roads in Westphalia Township. Preliminary investigation suggests a commercial 18-wheeler was turning onto Lehman from Grange when Blastic's car crashed into the back of its trailer for unknown reasons.
Blastic suffered fatal injuries in the crash. The truck driver was unhurt.
The crash remains under investigation. No further information is currently available.
Commentary on Jeffrey Blastic Accident on Grange Rd in Clinton County
People tend to read early reports like this one, see someone rear-ended a truck, and assume that person is to blame without much additional thought. The idea that a rear-end crash is always the rear driver's fault, without exception, is still one of the most pervasive misunderstandings I contend with. I can understand how folks might believe that because of how often investigators say that's the case, but it's still not as automatic as some believe it to be. Before anyone can say what really happened in Michigan it's important to consider all the possible explanations and variables.
To make sure the accident is properly understood, investigators will need to look more closely at all its specific details. For instance, what is visibility like in that area? Was there enough light to see clearly? Exactly how fast was the victim's car traveling at the time? Was it in proper working order--brakes, steering, safety measures? Reports say the truck "began to turn" just before the car hit it, so did the truck driver slow gradually when approaching the turn or did they brake abruptly? Did they signal the turn from further up the road? Were the truck's lights on and working properly? Did any witnesses see more of what happened? Was the victim paying attention to his surroundings? If not, why not? Could he have been distracted, or possibly even have been incapacitated by a medical issue?
I don't mean to overcomplicate this matter or suggest I know more than what reports indicate. I'm only saying what I so often do: When people are hurt or killed in accidents like this one, it's not right to blame them by default just because they hit the back of another vehicle. Instead, it's critical to invest the time and resources to understand exactly how and why the wreck happened. To find those answers one must account for all the potential factors. It's possible a full analysis would just find or confirm a simple explanation, but only after all options are considered can anyone be sure. At the very least the victim should receive the benefit of the doubt unless the evidence says otherwise.