One Dead, Several Injured in Tire Blowout Crash on TX-75 in Walker County
UPDATE (June 15, 2022): Two of the seriously-injured people involved in this accident have been identified as Isabel Varela and Maria Trejo. The identity of the person who died has not been disclosed.
Walker County, TX -- May 8, 2022, one person died and several others were injured in a head-on collision caused by a tire blowout on State Highway 75 in Walker County.
Authorities say the incident happened Sunday along TX-75 near Mitchell Cemetery Road, close to Huntsville. Preliminary investigation and witness statements suggest a Chevrolet pickup was headed south on the road when it blew a tire. The truck then swerved left of center and collided head-on with a Chevy Malibu. Both vehicles were found off the road with heavy damage.
The front passenger in the Malibu was pronounced dead at the scene. The car's driver and two children in the back were airlifted to an area hospital. The pickup's four occupants, including a child and a pregnant woman, were transported to area hospital. The survivors were said to be in serious or critical condition.
The investigation continues. No further information is currently available.
Commentary on Tire Blowout Accident on TX-75 in Walker County
Some folks consider tire blowout accidents tragic but essentially unavoidable. I certainly agree about the tragedy, 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 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 they're not particularly common, manufacturing defects can cause tires to fail during normal use. That could take different forms, but ultimately some part of the tire isn't properly constructed or put together and it gives way when it shouldn't.
It's one thing if road debris punctures a tire, but it's another thing entirely if it fails due to poor design or fabrication. Under those circumstances it's possible the tire's manufacturer should be considered liable for any crash caused by their faulty product.
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 many of their resources in training officers to make heads or tails of why a 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.