• January 10, 2022

Trey Swenson, Elizabeth Zeilinger Killed; Makayla Hernandez, Susan Wentz Injured in Belton County, TX Crash

UPDATE (August 31, 2022): Later investigative reports about the crash have identified 26-year-old GMC driver Makayla Hernandez and 58-year-old Buick driver Susan Wentz as seriously injured parties.

UPDATE (January 11, 2022): The two people who died in this accident have been identified as 26-year-olds Trey Swenson and Elizabeth Zeilinger.

Belton County, TX -- January 8, 2022, two people were killed in a three-vehicle collision involving a commercial truck on West Loop 121 in Belton County.

Authorities say the incident happened shortly before noon on the 700 block of W Loop 121 near the Bell County Expo Center. Preliminary investigation suggests a GMC SUV and a Kenworth truck were headed west on the Loop as a Buick SUV was eastbound in the same area.

The GMC driver reportedly slowed to wait for thru-traffic before making a left turn and the Kenworth, unable to slow in bad weather on the road, crashed into it. The impact pushed the GMC into the oncoming lane where it collided with the Buick.

Two people were pronounced dead at the scene. It is unknown how many other people were involved or if anyone else was injured.

No further information is currently available.

Trey Swenson, Elizabeth Zeilinger Killed; Makayla Hernandez, Susan Wentz Injured in Belton County, TX Crash

Commentary on Three-Vehicle Accident on Loop 121 in Belton County

Reports suggest the truck driver triggered this accident by failing to reduce speed and rear-ending the GMC vehicle. Some may feel that's enough to ensure the trucker and his employer must accept responsibility and help all the people hurt in this terrible crash.

While that assumption may seem reasonable, I must caution against thinking just about any commercial truck accident is as simple as that makes it seem. Trucking companies are infamous for refusing liability as long and loudly as they can, and will point to anything or anyone else they can think of as the true culprit rather than accept fault.

In the Belton County crash, for example, I can see at least three potential scapegoats the company might say were "really" to blame for what happened: The weather for making the road slick, the GMC driver for "stopping too suddenly," and the Buick driver for hitting the GMC a second time (which the company would say is really what did the damage). Those may seem cold-hearted, maybe even ridiculous, but defense attorneys aren't shy about pointing fingers where they must.

Click the image below to learn about some of the ways trucking companies get an early advantage over the people hurt by their employees, and what the victims must do to level the playing field.

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