• April 18, 2022

Amanda Weatherford Killed, Richard Matheny Injured in Motorcycle Accident on I-69 in Montgomery County, TX

UPDATE (June 29, 2022): Sources have identified the victims of this accident as 45-year-old passenger Amanda Weatherford and 41-year-old operator Richard Matheny.

Montgomery County, TX -- April 17, 2022, a woman died and man was injured in a motorcycle accident on Interstate 69 in Montgomery County.

Authorities say the incident happened around 6:00 p.m. along I-69 near Roman Forest Drive. Preliminary investigation suggests the man and woman were on a Yamaha motorcycle heading north on the freeway when the bike's rear tire separated. The operator lost control of the Yamaha and crashed. Investigators found parts of the tire up to 300 yards away from the scene.

The motorcycle's passenger suffered fatal injuries in the crash. The operator, her husband, was injured and was transported to an area hospital in stable condition. Reports say neither of them were wearing helmets.

No further information is available at this time.

Commentary on Amanda Weatherford, Richard Matheny Accident

UPDATE (June 29, 2022): Later reports about this crash say the bike's operator put a spare tire on the rear wheel, but the tire wasn't meant for motorcycles. If that's the case and the tire gave way because it wasn't designed for the vehicle, then it's possible this incident was caused mostly by an unfortunate choice on the rider's part.

With that said, it's still always best to investigate carefully and thoroughly. Even if the tire wasn't made for motorcycles does that mean it had to fail if put on one? Not necessarily, so I hope investigators still determined what made it give way. At the very least the victims' loved ones deserve to know that all care was taken to find the whole story.

Amanda Weatherford Killed, Richard Matheny Injured in Montgomery County, TX Motorcycle Accident

ORIGINAL: Some folks consider tire-failure accidents like this a tragic and unavoidable part of life. I agree about the tragedy, certainly, but "unavoidable" may be another matter. There may be further investigation warranted after this accident to determine exactly why the tire gave way. If a random object in the road punctured it or it fell apart from too much wear and tear there may not be much recourse, but what makes situations like this complex--and why police investigation alone may not be enough--is the possibility of a tire defect.

While not particularly common, manufacturing defects can cause tires to fail during normal use. The defect could take different forms, but ultimately some part of the tire isn't properly constructed or put together and it then gives way when there's no other reason for that.

It's one thing if road debris compromises a tire or it's worn out beyond use, but it's another thing entirely if it fails due to poor design or fabrication. Under those circumstances the tire's manufacturer may be considered liable for a crash caused by their faulty product. Not only that, but they'd need to issue a recall in an effort to prevent the possibility that thousands of other vehicles might crash the same way.

Investigating whether that happened and distinguishing a defect from a typical tire blowout can be pretty complex and requires particular tools and forensic training. Police departments rarely prioritize tire reconstruction that highly, though, and don't invest much in ensuring officers can make heads or tails of why the tire gave way. In most cases where vehicular defects might be involved, I suggest enlisting the help of independent investigators who have the right equipment and know-how to properly examine the issue and find some answers. At the very least, those affected deserve to know that every effort was made to gather all the facts of the matter.


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