Richard Massa Killed in Auto-Pedestrian Accident on Jog Rd in West Palm Beach, FL
West Palm Beach, FL -- January 26, 2022, 55-year-old Richard Massa was struck and killed by a tractor-trailer on Jog Road in West Palm Beach.
Authorities say the incident happened just after 6:00 a.m. on Jog Road just south of Okeechobee Boulevard. Preliminary investigation suggests Massa had just left a nearby CVS and was crossing Jog with a shopping cart outside of a crosswalk. As he did so a Peterbilt semi-truck with an attached trailer approached from the north. The driver reportedly tried to swerve left to avoid Massa, who reportedly continued to walk toward it.
Reports indicate Massa collided with the truck's passenger side and suffered fatal injuries. The truck driver was unhurt and no charges are expected after the accident.
No further information is available at this time.
Commentary on Richard Massa Accident on Jog Rd in West Palm Beach
When a pedestrian is hit by a vehicle in a situation like this, I notice many people essentially write the crash off and blame the victim without much further consideration. It's a common but mistaken sentiment that pedestrians rarely belong anywhere in the road unless they're protected by a light or a crosswalk, and therefore are always at fault in any other situation. However, the law is far more complex than a simple declaration of "who's allowed where."
When looking into a collision like this one, prudent investigators also consider how ultimately avoidable it was (or should have been). Put simply, all drivers have an obligation to avoid any accident they can even if the law says they have the right-of-way. If a reasonably prudent driver doing everything they're supposed to (hands on the wheel, eyes on the road, traveling the speed limit, etc) couldn't have avoided a collision with the victim, then it wouldn't be fair to blame them. However, if it's discovered through careful analysis that they could have avoided hitting him--regardless of who took precedent on the road--then it must be determined why they didn't do so.
That's not meant as an accusation against either party or to say I know more than reports say about what happened. News reports indicate the truck driver tried to take evasive action, and the lack of any charges likely means police feel there wasn't much else they could have done. I don't dispute that; I'm only saying that this incident may not be as simple as it appears. Further investigation is needed to determine where exactly both parties were in the road, where they came from, what exactly they were doing in the moments prior to the crash, how visible the pedestrian was, how fast the truck was traveling, and other details that might help clarify whether or not the accident could have been avoided. Even if reported facts seem pretty clear, it's important to consider all possibilities to get the victim's loved ones the answers and help they deserve.