Anthony Rivera-Velasquez Injured in Crash with 18-Wheeler on US-60 in Deaf Smith County, TX
Deaf Smith County, TX -- January 19, 2022, 27-year-old Anthony Rivera-Velasquez was injured in a crash with a commercial truck on U.S. Highway 60 in Deaf Smith County.
Authorities say the incident happened around 6:45 a.m. on US-60 at County Road 1. Preliminary investigation suggests a northbound Freightliner semi-truck with an attached trailer was traveling on CR 1 when it stopped at a posted sign for the US-60 intersection. Reports say the driver intended to cross the highway and continue on CR 1 on its north side.
Nearby, Rivera-Velasquez was driving a Ford Mustang west on the highway and approached the CR 1 crossing. The truck driver told investigators he saw several cars pass but didn't see the Mustang before starting to pull through the highway's travel lanes. He reportedly failed to yield the right-of-way to the Mustang as he went north and the car crashed into the right side of the truck in the westbound lanes.
Rivera-Velasquez suffered serious injuries in the collision. A passenger in the Mustang received minor injuries and the truck driver was reportedly unhurt.
No further information is currently available.
Commentary on Anthony Rivera-Velasquez Accident on US-60 in Deaf Smith County
At face value these reports seem pretty straightforward. Police say a truck driver's failure to yield caused a crash, so what else is there to say? It may be things really are that clear-cut and the report will be considered the final word, but long experience with these matters makes me seriously doubt the company behind that commercial driver will roll over and show its belly so easily. They can and will dispute police findings if it means getting their driver (and by extension themselves) off the hot-seat. The likelihood that they'll fight to avoid accountability means that a victim seeking both help and proper accountability had best be prepared for a battle--including the potential for some very surprising tactics.
I once worked on a case where a commercial truck hit a victim's car almost head-on at night, causing fatal injuries. It seemed obvious that the trucker crossed left of center and caused the crash, but his employer insisted he wasn't to blame. They told the jury their driver couldn't see the victim's car because it had no headlights--not that they weren't on, mind you, but that it literally had no bulbs in it.
That was a bizarre defense, so we went to where the vehicle was stored and checked for ourselves. Sure enough, the car had no headlight bulbs. Our inspectors saw scratch marks around the sockets, though, which seemed fishy. The facility's check-in logs showed the defense team was there not long before us, and we learned from security footage that they brought tools and removed the lights themselves--all to reinforce their invented story and dodge responsibility.
I'm sure that sounds crazy and I wholly agree, but it really happened. Few defense teams are desperate or unethical enough to tamper with evidence, and I'm not suggesting the truck driver in Deaf Smith County works for a company willing to go to such lengths. My point is more that doubt can be introduced a number of ways, and if it takes a hold in a jury's minds then the company may be able to talk its way out of liability. Victims sometimes aren't prepared to fight against claims that road hazards, sun glare, a "mystery car," or something else were to blame when their driver lost control.
The truck driver's statement that he didn't see the Mustang in Deaf Smith County might not seem like much on paper, but they might be the groundwork the company needs to accuse the victim of doing something wrong. Even when arguments like those make little sense, the burden of proving they're untrue falls to the victims. That's why I typically advise people caught in these situations not to rely on news or police reports, instead working with experienced accident reconstruction experts with the tools and know-how to find the needed evidence.