Damon Whaley Killed in Crash with 18-Wheeler on US-87 in Dallam County, TX
Dallam County, TX -- April 22, 2022, 39-year-old Damon Whaley was killed in a collision with an 18-wheeler on U.S. Highway 87 in Dallam County.
Reports say the incident happened around 8:15 a.m. on US-87 near mile marker 42. Preliminary investigation suggests a Peterbilt semi-truck was towing a trailer northwest in the right lane, followed at some distance by Whaley in a Toyota Tacoma. Reports indicate the big rig slowed down and signaled before beginning a turn into a nearby private drive, but Whaley didn't reduce the pickup's speed and crashed into the semi-trailer.
Whaley was pronounced dead at the scene. The truck driver was unhurt.
No further information is currently available.
Commentary on Damon Whaley Accident on US-87 in Dallam County
People tend to read early reports like this one, see someone rear-ended a truck, and assume that person is to blame without much further thought. The idea that a rear-end crash is always the rear driver's fault, without exception, is actually one of the most common misconceptions I run into. It may seem that way because of how often speeding or distraction are blamed, but before anyone can say what really happened on US-87 it's important to consider all the possible explanations.
That typically involves learning more specifics about the accident. For instance, what is visibility like in that area? Exactly how fast was the victim's car traveling at the time? Was it in proper working order--brakes, steering, safety measures? Did the truck ahead slow gradually before turning, or did the truck driver brake abruptly when he got close to the crossover? Reports say he used his turn signal, but how long before turning did he activate it? Was the victim paying attention to his surroundings? If not, why not? Could he have been distracted, or possibly even have suffered a medical emergency at the wheel? Are there any witnesses who can further clarify what happened?
I don't mean to overcomplicate this matter or suggest anyone or anything in particular is to blame here. I'm only saying what I so often do: When people are hurt in these accidents, it's not right to automatically blame them because they hit another vehicle. Instead, it's critical to invest the time and resources to understand exactly how and why the wreck happened. There's every possibility that would confirm a simple explanation, but only after other options are considered can anyone be sure. At the very least the victim should receive the benefit of the doubt unless clear evidence says otherwise.