• March 28, 2022

Yavonne Mayes Killed, Two Injured in Truck Accident on TX-73 in Port Arthur

Port Arthur, TX -- March 27, 2022, 19-year-old Yavonne Mayes was killed and two people were injured in a crash with a tractor-trailer on State Highway 73 in Port Arthur.

Authorities say the incident happened around 10:30 a.m. along Highway 73 near Country Club Road. Preliminary investigation suggests a Chrysler 200 sedan was traveling east behind a Peterbilt tractor-trailer. Traffic reportedly slowed ahead in response to a work crew raising a power line for another truck's oversized load. The Peterbilt slowed in response; reports say the Chrysler driver didn't reduce speed and crashed into the back of the big rig at an angle. The car the spun away into the nearby grass median.

Mayes, a passenger in the Chrysler, was pronounced dead at the scene. The car's driver and another passenger were transported to an area hospital for treatment of unspecified injuries. The truck driver, 52-year-old Gerald Damon, was unhurt.

The investigation continues. No further information is currently available.

Commentary on Yavonne Mayes Accident on TX-73 in Port Arthur

People tend to read early reports like this one, see someone rear-ended a truck, and assume that person is to blame without much additional thought. The idea that a rear-end crash is always the rear driver's fault is still one of the most pervasive misunderstandings I contend with. I can understand how folks might believe that because of how often investigators say that's the case, but it's still not as automatic as some believe it to be. Before anyone can say what really happened in Port Arthur it's important to consider all the possible explanations and variables.

To make sure the accident is properly understood, investigators will need to look more closely at its specifics. For instance, what is visibility like in that area? How were the car driver's sightlines--could they see traffic slowing ahead of the truck? Exactly how fast was the car traveling at the time? Was it in proper working order--brakes, steering, safety measures? Reports say the truck slowed just before the car hit it, so did the truck driver slow gradually when approaching traffic or did they brake abruptly? Were the truck's lights on and working properly? Did any witnesses see more of what happened? Was the car's driver paying attention to their surroundings? If not, why not?

Yavonne Mayes Killed, Two Injured in Truck Accident on TX-73 in Port Arthur

I don't mean to overcomplicate this matter or suggest I know more than what reports indicate. I'm only saying what I so often do: When people are hurt or killed in accidents like this one, it's not right to blame someone by default just because they hit the back of another vehicle. Instead, it's critical to invest the time and resources to understand exactly how and why the wreck happened. To find those answers one must account for all the potential factors. It's possible a full analysis would just find or confirm a simple explanation, but only after all options are considered can anyone be sure. At the very least the victim should receive the benefit of the doubt unless the evidence says otherwise.

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