Dylan Campbell, Arnaldo Lopez Jr. Killed, Nick Joiner Injured in Motley County, TX Accident
Motley County, TX -- March 26, 2022, 31-year-old Dylan Campbell and 29-year-old Arnaldo Lopez Jr. were killed in a single-vehicle crash on U.S. Highway 62 in Motley County.
Authorities say the incident happened around 4:15 a.m. on US-62 outside Matador. Preliminary investigation suggests Campbell was driving a GMC 1500 pickup truck west on the highway when he drifted off the road in a curve. Campbell reportedly over-corrected, causing the truck to enter a side-skid and overturn. It rolled an unknown number of times before coming to rest. Investigators say none of the pickup's three occupants were wearing seat belts at the time.
Campbell and Lopez were pronounced dead at the scene. A second passenger, 42-year-old Nick Joiner, was transported to a Lubbock hospital with possible injuries.
The crash remains under investigation. No further information is currently available.
Commentary on Dylan Campbell, Arnaldo Lopez Jr, Nick Joiner Accident on US-62 in Motley County
UPDATE (April 13, 2022): According to later reports police suspect the driver was drinking alcohol prior to the accident. It's unclear whether they found evidence of that or just felt strongly it was possible due to the way the wreck occurred, but either way if that's their opinion I hope they'll take steps to find out if they're right. Not only would knowing for certain what caused this tragedy be a helpful step for the people affected by it, but if alcohol played a central part in it then a local business may need to make what amends it can to two men's grieving families.
I briefly mentioned before that Texas dram shop law deals with bars and other licensed alcohol providers (nightclubs, restaurants, stores, etc) that sell or serve alcohol to obviously intoxicated customers. When a bar breaks that law (which happens much too often), under dram shop it may be liable for any damage its customer causes or suffers while under the influence.
To be clear, alcohol's still just a theory and even if it's confirmed that doesn't necessarily mean a bar over-served the driver. It's just an important element to look into further when accidents of this nature occur. If a business broke the law and two people were fatally hurt as a result, it's only right that business be held properly accountable. If people can get some help at the same time, that's all the better.
ORIGINAL: Some may read that a driver mysteriously lost control on the highway and jump to certain conclusions about how and why that happened. It may be tempting to point accusatory fingers at common explanations for that like driver distraction, speeding, or even impairment. That last isn't meant as an accusation; reports haven't mentioned anything about alcohol. However, many similar early-morning single-vehicle accidents happen after a night of drinking somewhere. At the very least the possibility can't be dismissed without due consideration. It's even more important to look into that because a local bar might have over-served the driver, at which point that business could be liable for all the victims' injuries under dram shop law.
However, just because some factors are more commonly behind these crashes doesn't mean others can be ignored. To be sure the whole story is known it's important to account for all the possibilities. For instance, what if a mechanical failure in the pickup caused the driver to go off-course?
That may seem a little out of left field, but consider the infamous General Motors ignition switch defect. That faulty part suddenly cut off power to drivers going full speed, shutting down vital safety features like power steering, anti-lock braking, and even airbags. Reports say over a hundred people died from the issue, yet the public didn't know about it for years. The truth only came to light after years of independent investigations finally connected the dots, and even then the company denied liability for as long as possible before issuing a recall.
I'm not saying anything of the sort necessarily happened in Motley County (though the vehicle in question was a GM truck), but before the truth finally came to light about the ignition switch how many people unfairly blamed the victims for their crashes? That's the big risk of jumping to conclusions instead of seeking evidence. Assumptions don't help victims and families after a terrible mishap; they only worsen a tragic situation. That's why it's best that folks simply focus on what can be done for those affected by the crash until independent professionals have a chance to look into the details and get some clear answers. Are those steps being taken here?