• February 17, 2022

Karina Ayala Killed in 18-Wheeler Accident on US-60 in Canyon, TX

Canyon, TX -- October 12, 2021, 19-year-old Karina Ayala was killed in a collision with a tractor-trailer on Hereford Highway in Randall County.

Authorities say the incident happened around 5:40 a.m. on Hereford Hwy (U.S. Highway 60) near 1st Street. Preliminary investigation suggests Ayala was driving a Chevrolet Malibu east on the roadway when a westbound Peterbilt tractor-trailer reportedly turned southward into her path, failing to yield the right-of-way. The Malibu crashed into the side of the commercial trailer and passed underneath it, then veered northward and traveled off the highway before stopping.

Ayala suffered fatal injuries in the accident. The truck driver was unhurt.

No further information is currently available.

Commentary on Karina Ayala Accident on US-60 in Canyon

If reports are accurate it seems the truck driver failed to yield to the victim's vehicle while turning. Some may think that makes the matter fairly open-and-shut, but I caution against taking that for granted or "closing the book" before the whole story is known--and proven. Even if reports currently suggest the truck driver was to blame, it would likely be tough getting him or his employer to accept responsibility for what happened and the damages that followed. Some of the tactics trucking companies use when trying to avoid fault may be surprising.

Karina Ayala Killed in 18-Wheeler Accident on US-60 in Canyon, TX

I recently worked on a crash similar in some ways to the one in Canyon. In that situation an 18-wheeler pulled out of a parking lot directly into a car's path, causing a fatal collision. Police reports said the commercial driver was at fault 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, they were shocked as it told them the victim himself was actually to blame. The company claimed he was speeding and not wearing a seat belt, the combination of which was actually the cause of his injuries. Heartless? Of course, but it was also untrue. The family had to prove that, so they reached out to us for help.

Our investigators analyzed vehicle data from the crash and determined conclusively that the victim wasn't speeding. We also spoke with the ambulance crews that worked to save his life and all of them 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 and it finally accepted responsibility for its employee's reckless act. That kind of battle is common after truck accidents, but it never ceases to amaze me how far some companies will go to avoid doing the right thing.

The crash in Canyon and the other one I described obviously aren't identical, but after almost any commercial vehicle wreck victims must be ready for trucking company and insurance defense tactics. They'll fight to protect their assets any time they see a chance they could get off the hook. Preliminary reports from news sources or even police, no matter how clear they may seem, typically aren't enough to get a proper resolution. Will appropriate steps be taken here to ensure the victim's loved ones get the help they deserve?

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