• May 13, 2022

Gary and Patricia Garner Injured in Crash with 18-Wheeler on US-59 in Liberty County, TX

Liberty County, TX -- April 25, 2022, Gary and Patricia Garner were injured in a crash with a commercial truck on U.S. Highway 59 in Liberty County.

Authorities say the incident happened around 1:35 p.m. on US-59 near County Road 3997. Preliminary investigation suggests a Kenworth semi-truck was towing a trailer north on the highway in the inside lane as 73-year-old Gary Garner was driving a Toyota Camry north nearby in the outside lane.

According to reports, Garner began an attempt to pass another vehicle in front of the Toyota, changing lanes when unsafe to the inside lane. Because the lane change was unsafe the Toyota's rear-left quarter collided with the front-right of the Kenworth truck. After the impact the Camry spun out and came to rest in the grassy median.

Gary Garner suffered serious injuries in the collision. Patricia Garner received minor injuries. The truck driver was unhurt.

No further information is currently available.

Commentary on Gary and Patricia Garner Accident on US-59 in Liberty County

Reports paint a picture of a passing maneuver gone wrong, but is that really all there is to the story? Many preliminary reports miss important details because they're not glaringly obvious at the scene, yet those details could have made a huge difference in how a crash was understood.

For instance, a lot of crashes like this one happen when a stubborn person in one lane refuses to let someone cut in ahead of them. I'm not accusing the truck driver of any such thing here, just pointing out one example of many about how these crashes can occur. Did anyone bother to find out how fast the truck was traveling or whether the driver sped up when it saw a car trying to zip into his lane? That kind of defensive action happens sometimes (especially if a driver's having a bad day) and it can turn a possibly-risky traffic maneuver into a very dangerous crash in a heartbeat.

Gary and Patricia Garner Injured in Crash with 18-Wheeler on US-59 in Liberty County, TX

Some may wonder if it's even possible to check on something like that. After all, the crash is a few weeks past and it's not like anyone would admit to getting possessive about their spot in the road. Luckily there are many sources of evidence that could say one way or the other whether everyone acted as a reasonably prudent person would have in their shoes. A vehicle's Electronic Control Module, for example, records important data about its speeds and braking among various other inputs from all over the vehicle. A skilled investigator can interpret the readouts from an ECM to tell exactly what a vehicle did just before a crash. How fast was the truck traveling? Did it speed up or slow down as the car swerved in? Those are a few things an ECM could answer.

To be fair, the data from the truck and car could show everything happened just as it was described in reports. As much as I'm calling for more clarity here, I'm still not making any accusations. I just know from a long time in this business that things often aren't as clear-cut as news or police reports make them sound. That's why for everyone's sake it's better to find all the clear evidence possible, represented only by objective facts, that tells the whole story. If there are any other steps to take, knowing that would largely depend on what that story turns out to be.

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