• May 02, 2022

Nicholas Nair, Gavin Short, Drake Brooks Killed in Truck Accident in Kay County, OK

Kay County, OK -- April 29, 2022, college students Nicholas Nair, Gavin Short, and Drake Brooks were killed in a crash with a semi-truck in Kay County.

Authorities say the incident happened around 11:25 p.m. on southbound Interstate 35. Preliminary investigation suggests the three young men were in a Volkswagen Tiguan heading south on the highway in rainy weather when they hydroplaned. The Tiguan left the right side of the road, then veered back on and became disabled in the outside southbound lane. Shortly afterward a Freightliner tractor-trailer crashed into the VW on the roadway.

Nair (20), Short (19), and Brooks(22) all received fatal injuries in the crash.

The investigation is ongoing. No further information is currently available.

Commentary on Nicholas Nair, Gavin Short, Drake Brooks Accident in Kay County

It's a terrible tragedy to see young lives cut short like this. My heart goes out to those young men's families after their loss.

When reading over preliminary reports about the wreck, certain specific details jump out at me and make me wonder if the news really has the whole story. One thing that doesn't quite seem established yet is the exact timing of events out there on I-35. What do I mean? Mostly that careful investigation should be conducted to find out exactly how much time passed between when the SUV became disabled in the road and when it was hit by the big rig.

A crash with only moments between those events might ultimately look similar to one where a few minutes passed, but those situations could be regarded quite differently by the law. If further investigation found that the truck driver could or should reasonably have stopped or steered clear rather than hitting the Volkswagen, then clearly it's important to find out why that didn't happen. Likewise, closer scrutiny could determine there was little the truck driver could have done differently--particularly with rainfall in the area potentially obscuring his view.

Nicholas Nair, Gavin Short, Drake Brooks Killed in Truck Accident in Kay County, OK

Speaking of rain, that's another detail that bears a second look. In my experience, too many accidents are written off as byproducts of bad weather even when that was more coincidental than anything else. What I mean is that rain itself doesn't cause crashes, but rather what drivers do in it poses the hazard. That's not said in judgment of the driver who hydroplaned in the VW, but actually more as a point of concern about how the big rig was traveling at night in the rain. Was it barreling down the freeway at normal speeds, or did the driver comply with federal regulations about safe operation in inclement weather?

I'm not trying to overcomplicate things or point fingers here. I'm only saying what I so often do: When someone is hurt or killed in an accident it's important not to jump to any conclusions, but instead to investigate carefully and learn all the available facts. If police just chalk everything up to bad weather and unfortunate circumstances and look no further, the victims' loved ones may not get the whole story they deserve.

In situations like those many people found the best way to fill in some concerning blanks is to work with independent investigators to seek more answers. If any other steps should be taken, knowing that would depend in large part what those answers turn out to be.

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