• January 27, 2022

Dennis and Stephany Ferguson Killed in Crash with 18-Wheeler in Delray Beach, FL

UPDATE (February 1, 2022): It is our sad duty to report that passenger Stephany Ferguson succumbed to injuries sustained in this accident on Saturday, January 29.

Delray Beach, FL -- January 25, 2022, 71-year-old Dennis Ferguson was killed and 72-year-old Stephany Ferguson was injured in a crash with a tractor-trailer in Delray Beach.

Authorities say the incident happened around 6:35 p.m. in the area of 14095 State Road 7, next to Pero Family Farms. Preliminary investigation suggests the Fergusons were traveling south on the roadway when they approached a side road where a tractor-trailer was pulling forward. The truck blocked their path and their vehicle collided with it, becoming wedged beneath.

Dennis Ferguson suffered fatal injuries in the crash. Stephany Ferguson received critical injuries and was transported to an area hospital for treatment. The truck driver was unhurt.

No further information is available at this time.

Commentary on Dennis and Stephany Ferguson Accident on State Road 7 in Delray Beach

I don't want to speculate overmuch about the circumstances of this accident, but the most likely scenario is that a commercial truck was leaving the nearby business and its driver failed to yield to approaching traffic before entering the highway. Further investigation might bring other details to light, but if that interpretation is correct that may mean the truck driver acted negligently.

Of course even if that's the case it's never really as straightforward as that might make it sound. If the victims' family confronted the company about the truck driver's possible negligence they would likely be met with protests and excuses about why the accident wasn't really the company's fault. Over my decades in this industry I've seen companies blame almost everything under the sun (and often the sun as well) when their drivers do something careless and people get hurt. That sometimes even includes the victims themselves, which can come as a very rude shock to people expecting the company to do the right thing.

Dennis and Stephany Ferguson Killed in Crash with 18-Wheeler in Delray Beach, FL

Not long ago I worked on a fatal 18-wheeler crash similar to the one in Florida. Police reports said the truck driver was at fault there and the victim's family assumed that was enough for the trucking company to do the right thing. When they approached the firm about it, though, the company claimed the victim was speeding and not wearing a seat belt--the combination of which was actually responsible for his injuries. That was cold-blooded, of course, but it the family had to prove it was also untrue so they called us for help.

Our independent accident reconstructionists analyzed the crash and determined the victim wasn't speeding. We also spoke with the ambulance crews that worked to save his life and they all agreed they had to cut through his fastened seat belt before they could get him out of the car. With that evidence in hand we refuted the trucking company's arguments that the victim was to blame. That kind of battle is common after truck accidents, but it never ceases to amaze me how far some of those companies will go to avoid doing the right thing.

The crash in Delray Beach and the other one I described obviously aren't identical; for one thing, news reports don't say the truck driver failed to yield but rather that the victim "neglected to see" it enter his path. That wording might be leveraged by the company to suggest the victim did something wrong in those crucial moments before the collision. It wouldn't have to be true for them to suggest it in their own defense, as the burden of proving it false would fall to the victims and their allies.

After virtually every commercial vehicle wreck it's important to be ready for trucking company and insurance defense tactics. They'll fight like hell to protect themselves and preliminary reports from news sources or even police, no matter what they may say, typically aren't enough to get a proper resolution. Will appropriate steps be taken here to ensure those affected get the help they need and deserve?

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