• April 18, 2022

Joshua Fornash Killed, Monica Chavez Injured in Odessa, TX Motorcycle Accident

Odessa, TX -- April 15, 2022, 32-year-old Joshua Fornash was killed and 22-year-old Monica Chavez was injured in a motorcycle accident near West Odessa.

Authorities say the incident happened around 8:30 p.m. along West 16th Street, roughly 2 miles west of city limits. Preliminary investigation suggests Fornash and Chavez were on a Kawasaki motorcycle headed east as 50-year-old Olivas Hernanez was driving a Ford Fusion in the westbound turning lane. Reports indicate Hernanez made a left turn toward a nearby parking lot, entering the path of the oncoming motorcycle. The vehicles collided in the eastbound lane.

Fornash was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident. Chavez was transported to a Lubbock hospital for treatment of serious injuries. Olivas Hernanez was unhurt; a passenger in the Ford, 54-year-old Jose Vasquez, was treated and released from a local hospital.

No further information is available at this time.

Commentary on Joshua Fornash, Monica Chavez Accident in Odessa

A common mistake I see people make after these incidents is thinking that what we see in reports is really all there is to know. If they have their facts straight then someone failed to yield to traffic and tragedy followed, so what more could there be to say?

For starters, there's the very important question of why things happened that way. People don't maliciously or intentionally cause crashes very often, so it's often necessary to figure out exactly how they accidentally did so. Was the Ford driver not paying attention to traffic before turning? Did they misjudge how much time they had? Were the motorcycle's lights on? What about the car's? Did the driver use his turn signal? How fast was the bike traveling? Were both drivers in a normal state of mind? Could either have been impaired?

Joshua Fornash Killed, Monica Chavez Injured in Odessa, TX Motorcycle Accident

I'm certainly not saying I know more than what reports indicate here, but right now the account of what happened feels pretty incomplete and I hope authorities will fill in more blanks before they close the file. It's rarely enough to say who hit whom without figuring out precisely why, and yet all too often law enforcement shuts an investigation down once they identify whether or not any laws were broken. That can leave a lot of lingering questions for victims and families who want to know a) how exactly their injury or loss occurred, and b) whether the parties responsible for it will be held accountable.

Because police often close investigations before they're really complete, that search for answers often requires working with independent investigators to pick up where officials left off. Sometimes they don't find anything unusual and their conclusions match those of police, but many other times their superior training and equipment turn up new information that changes how a crash is perceived or what should be done about it. At the very least, that close attention means the victims' loved ones will get some badly-needed answers about the accident. Helping them achieve some closure is worth the effort.

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