• January 24, 2022

Carl Taylor, Nicholas Flakes, Teen Killed in 18-Wheeler Crash on TX-71 near La Grange

La Grange, TX -- January 10, 2022, Carl Taylor, Nicholas Flakes, and a 17-year-old passenger were killed in a crash with a tractor-trailer near La Grange.

Authorities say the incident happened around 1:20 p.m. on State Highway 71 at Huelsebusch Road, west of town. Preliminary investigation suggests a Volvo 18-wheeler towing a trailer was westbound on the highway when the driver, Ezathullah Atiq (38), entered the left-turn lane and stopped, waiting for his turn.

The big rig was in the turn lane when a Toyota Camry, driven by Carl Taylor (23), approached from behind. The car entered the turn lane behind the truck and crashed into the rear of its trailer, becoming lodged underneath. After the impact the car caught fire and swiftly became engulfed.

Taylor, Flakes (21), and the 17-year-old male passenger were killed in the collision. No other injuries were reported.

No further information is available at this time.

Commentary on Carl Taylor, Nicholas Flakes Accident on TX-71

Some may read the preliminary details of this accident and prepare to blame the person driving the car without much further thought. According to how events are portrayed it seems like he crashed into the back of the stopped truck; what else could there be to know?

As it happens, quite a few important pieces of information are missing from the current narrative. Police may feel they have a handle on what happened, but there are few insights so far about why things went that way. A few types of driver error (speeding, distraction, impairment) could potentially explain it, but there are numerous other possibilities that would have been out of the victim's control.

For instance, what if the car blew a tire and veered off-course? Could something have gone wrong mechanically inside the car? What about the driver--could he have experienced some kind of medical issue at the wheel? Were any other vehicles involved that left the scene? What's the quality of the road like in that area--could it have been wet or covered in debris that made traction difficult? Is wildlife in the road a problem in those parts? How much time passed between the 18-wheeler entering the turn lane and the car doing the same?

None of those questions and the many others like them that still need answers are meant to overcomplicate this matter or point any fingers. The point is more that when someone is hurt or killed in an accident it's generally irresponsible to point fingers or make assumptions until more facts are available. The news paints a picture of a car slamming into a truck for seemingly little to no reason, but I don't really buy that.

The best way to know exactly what happened and why is through rigorous investigation and finding the necessary evidence to tell the true story. If police are more or less satisfied with the story they've cooked up, they may not look much further. If that's the case then the victims' families may want an independent investigator to take another look for anything that was missed. At the very least they all deserve to know that every effort was made to bring them answers after their terrible losses.

Carl Taylor, Nicholas Flakes, Teen Killed in 18-Wheeler Crash on TX-71 near La Grange

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