• April 25, 2022

Robert and Kali Mohler, Two Others Injured in Austin, TX Truck Accident

UPDATE (May 10, 2022): The two victims trapped in their SUV and seriously injured in this crash have been identified as 34-year-old Robert Mohler and 32-year-old Kali Mohler.

Later reports suggest the truck driver may have lost consciousness while driving, causing him to veer out of his lane and travel down an embankment from the south- to the northbound roadway. The truck collided with the Buick in the outside shoulder of the road, causing the SUV to spin out and the truck to overturn on the south side of the highway.

Austin, TX -- April 23, 2022, three adults and a child were injured when an SUV and a tractor-trailer collided on State Highway 130 in Austin.

Authorities say the incident happened shortly before 11:00 a.m. on TX-130 near Del Valle Street. The cause and circumstances of the crash aren't clear, but reports indicate a northbound Buick Encore and a southbound Western Star 18-wheeler collided in the area. Of the four people involved in the wreck, two were entrapped after the collision and firefighters had to cut them free.

One person suffered life-threatening injuries in the wreck and was rushed to a nearby trauma center. Another suffered potentially serious injuries and was taken to the same hospital. A child in the SUV was taken to a local children's hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries. A third adult was airlifted to a hospital with potentially serious injuries.

No further information is available at this time.

Commentary on Robert and Kali Mohler Accident on TX-130 in Austin

UPDATE (May 10, 2022): Police believe that the truck driver experienced some sort of medical episode, triggering the chaos that followed. When folks hear about a crash resulting from a medical emergency, many just assume everything was completely unavoidable. That can be true, but not always. In some cases the emergency was foreseeable and the driver shouldn't have been on the road to start with.

A trucking company likely wouldn't be on the hook for a crash that happened because their driver suddenly had a medical emergency they couldn't possible foresee or prevent. Holding a company responsible for a seemingly-healthy person having a heart attack or brain aneurysm, for example, would be unjust.

However, there are plenty of medical conditions that are both manageable and predictable. For example, I had a case a while back where a truck driver had a medical episode that led to a serious crash. When we looked at his records we found he had a long list of concerning issues that a responsible employer would have seen. Since putting someone behind the wheel of a truck when they might not be able to do their job safely is basically arming a ticking time bomb, a company could be liable for failing to prevent something they could or should have seen coming.

Much of this depends on the nature of the medical problem that made the driver black out. If nothing like it had ever happened and his medical checkup history was clean as a whistle, then this crash while terrible may really have been unavoidable. However, rather than simply assume this was just a run of bad luck it's best to check on the driver's health history and find out for sure. Police may not be all that interested in that part, though, so if for no other reason than to make sure the victims get the help they need an independent investigation may need to have another look.

Robert and Kali Mohler, Two Others Injured in Austin, TX Truck Accident

ORIGINAL: Right now reports say only that two vehicles, one of them commercial, crashed on the highway and several people were hurt. Obviously there's a lot of important details and context missing from that still, so I hope no one decides for themselves how and why it happened.

To find out more, investigators still need to look into many possible factors: Possible driver mistakes like distraction or speeding, certainly, but also problems with the vehicles themselves, road conditions and design, visibility, lighting and sightlines, inclement weather, other traffic in the area, and many other elements that could have influenced or outright caused the wreck. Considering all the variables is a vital part of the investigation.

As that's being done I want to repeat that making premature assumptions isn't a good idea. I've seen too many people rush to judgment after reading an early news release only to change their minds completely after more details came to light. The same thing could happen here, though it's also possible a police investigation won't clarify things as much as one might hope.

After a major accident--particularly one involving a commercial truck--I always suggest an independent investigation to make sure the whole truth is found. Whatever is learned, those affected deserve to know that every effort was made to bring them all the available answers. Any further steps would depend largely on what those answers turn out to be.

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