• February 07, 2022

Trecion Bell Killed in 18-Wheeler Accident on I-85 in Dinwiddie, VA

Dinwiddie, VA -- February 5, 2022, 25-year-old Trecion Bell was killed when his vehicle was hit by a commercial tractor-trailer on Interstate 85 in Dinwiddie.

Authorities say the incident happened just after 2:30 a.m. on southbound I-85 near mile marker 51 and Gatewood Road. Preliminary investigation suggests Bell's vehicle was stopped on the right shoulder of the roadway for unknown reasons when he attempted to merge back into the travel lanes. The car reportedly pulled into the path of an oncoming 18-wheeler that could not stop before hitting it.

Bell, reportedly not wearing a seat belt at the time, suffered fatal injuries in the collision. The truck driver was unhurt.

No further information is currently available.

Commentary on Trecion Bell Accident on I-85 in Dinwiddie

I think at a glance some people may be too quick to judge this as a wreck where the victim made a mistake and pulled into the path of an 18-wheeler. That may be what happened here, but it's important not to make that conclusion too hastily. News reports aren't really that specific about the chain of events. They don't say much more than that the victim's vehicle merged from the shoulder, then was hit by the 18-wheeler. That means there's a number of details that still need to be properly addressed.

Trecion Bell Killed in 18-Wheeler Accident on I-85 in Dinwiddie, VA

For instance, key factor in these crashes is timing. Obviously if someone cuts off an 18-wheeler at a low speed on the interstate, there's only so much a truck driver can do before a crash is unavoidable. However, I've litigated cases where someone changed lanes or pulled into the path of an 18-wheeler and was already approaching or at highway speed when the truck, traveling much faster than the legal limit, hit them anyway. The aftermath of those two scenarios could look much the same, but their circumstances mean they would be approached very differently in terms of fault.

To be clear, I'm not making any accusations here. I don't have any information besides what's in reports, and at this point neither I nor anyone else can say exactly what happened on I-85. Sadly one of the drivers is unable to provide his version of the story, so we'll never know if it would be the same as the truck driver's account.

All we can say right now as investigators work to connect the dots is that someone's life was tragically cut short in a crash with a commercial truck. His family deserves to know that every effort will be made to get the full story and the facts proving it. That will most likely require far more thorough investigations than the ones reported in the news. Once experienced accident reconstructionists look into this, it can be better determined how avoidable it was and what can be done in its aftermath.

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