• May 05, 2022

Nathan Lugo Killed in Truck Accident on US-87 in Lynn County, TX

Lynn County, TX -- May 3, 2022, 21-year-old Nathan Villanueva Lugo was killed in a crash involving a tractor-trailer on U.S. Highway 87 in Lynn County.

Authorities say the incident happened around 2:25 a.m. on northbound US-87 near county Road 32, just outside O'Donnell. Preliminary investigation suggests Lugo's Jeep Renegade was stopped on the northbound shoulder as a Freightliner 18-wheeler approached on the highway. According to reports Lugo started to make a U-turn and entered the path of the big rig, resulting in a collision. After the impact the Jeep overturned and rolled through the median while the big rig ran off the road, also into the median.

Lugo was pronounced dead at the scene. The truck driver was unhurt.

No further information is currently available.

Commentary on Nathan Lugo Accident on US-87 in Lynn County

UPDATE (May 24, 2022): Later investigative reports about this crash say police strongly believe the victim was under the influence of alcohol at the time. I don't address that to judge him or to lecture about drunk driving, but if alcohol was a factor as suspected that may change how the accident should be addressed.

A lot of people think drunk driving begins and ends with the person at the wheel, but that's not always true. In Texas and many other states alcohol-related crashes may also involve holding the businesses that serve it responsible for the damage their customers cause or suffer while under the influence. Under dram shop law a licensed alcohol vendor like a bar or a restaurant is prohibited by law from selling or serving drinks to an obviously intoxicated customer.

Right now alcohol's influence is only suspected, not proven. I'm not saying I know more than reports convey, but if police really think the driver might have been impaired I hope they'll take their investigation to its logical conclusion by finding where his drinks were served. However, I'm not so sure they will.

Despite the serious damage that follows many dram violations, they don't get much attention from police. That's why if a bar is suspected of over-service (it happens all the time) then the people hurt by that are often best served by seeking help from independent investigators. Those professionals know what proof to look for and how to get it, and armed with what they find many people affected by a bar's negligent over-service have held it accountable for the damage it helped cause.

Nathan Lugo Killed in Truck Accident on US-87 in Lynn County, TX

ORIGINAL: These reports appear to be pretty straightforward, and I have no particular reason to doubt the story they tell. However, there's at least one concern I've developed after years of experience with commercial truck wrecks and reports like these: Put simply, when someone is killed in a crash like this there are times where their side of the story is never properly learned or told.

It's unclear whether the truck driver was the only witness to what happened, but understandably they have a large stake in how the crash is understood by authorities. I'm not accusing anyone of misrepresenting the truth; my point is just that a crash viewed through one participant's eyes may not look the same as it would have through the other person's. Even in situations where the victim survives they aren't always able to give a clear statement to investigators before heading to a hospital. By the time they can chime in reports are sometimes already filled out and police are quite stubborn about changing them.

That's one of the many reasons independent investigations can be so crucial after a serious truck wreck. If there are any inaccuracies or important details that slipped through the cracks, a second look from someone working specifically on the victim's behalf could help to fill in the gaps so that, at the very least, his family knows they can tell their side of the story properly. Whatever help that can provide them depends on what story the evidence tells.


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