• April 28, 2022

Pedestrian Killed in 18-Wheeler Accident on I-17 in Yavapai County, AZ

Yavapai County, AZ -- April 20, 2022, a pedestrian was struck and killed after an 18-wheeler hit an unoccupied car in the lanes of Interstate 17 in Yavapai County.

Authorities say the incident happened around 12:30 a.m. on I-17 near Black Canyon City. Preliminary investigation suggests a passenger vehicle was stopped in the Number 2 lane of the road for unknown reasons when it was hit by a tractor-trailer. The impact pushed the unoccupied car into a pedestrian who was standing near it on the road.

The pedestrian became pinned beneath the car and suffered fatal injuries. The big rig's driver and passenger were taken to an area hospital for treatment of minor injuries.

No further information is currently available.

Commentary on Auto-Pedestrian Accident on I-17 in Yavapai County

With reports like these it's important to consider the exact series of events, their specific timing, and how avoidable they were. The struck vehicle was reportedly stopped in the roadway; it's obviously important to learn why, but another issue to consider is whether the 18-wheeler driver could reasonably have avoided hitting it.

Pedestrian Killed in 18-Wheeler Accident on I-17 in Yavapai County, AZ

That may seem unfair to the trucker, and I'm not pointing fingers. However, there's a world of difference between a big hitting a disabled car because the driver had no time or space to react and that same collision happening because the trucker wasn't paying attention until it was too late.

I worked on a crash not long ago, similar in some ways to the one near Black Canyon City, where a truck hit someone's disabled car and killed the driver. The trucking company claimed their driver had no way to see or avoid the car at that time of night, but when we subpoenaed dashcam footage from the truck we found the car was clearly visible from at least a quarter mile away. The truck driver didn't see it until he was on top of it because he was watching shows on a tablet instead of the road.

With that evidence in hand we overcame the company's objections and secured help for the victim's family. However, that same footage could have shown the opposite--the car almost invisible until it was much too late and even an attentive truck driver couldn't have done anything. In those circumstances it wouldn't have been right to say the trucker was responsible for what happened. People typically aren't liable for accidents they couldn't reasonably avoid.

So was this crash just an unfortunate series of events starting with a car stopping in the road, or would a reasonably prudent professional truck driver have been able to avoid hitting it in the travel lanes? It will almost certainly take more thorough investigations to say for sure.


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