• May 18, 2022

Pedestrian Johnny Powell Killed by 18-Wheeler on I-20 near Longview, TX

Longview, TX -- May 16, 2022, 60-year-old Johnny Mack Powell was struck and killed by a tractor-trailer while walking on Interstate 20 in Longview.

According to reports the incident happened around 3:35 p.m. along eastbound I-20 near FM 2087. Preliminary investigation suggests Powell was driving east when his car ran off the road, possibly due to traveling at unsafe speeds for wet conditions. After leaving the road and stopping Powell walked away from his vehicle and back to I-20; police believe he stepped into the road, possibly to solicit help, and was hit by a Volvo 18-wheeler in a travel lane.

Powell suffered fatal injuries in the accident. No other injuries were reported.

No further information is available at this time.

Commentary on Johnny Powell Accident on I-20 near Longview

UPDATE (June 7, 2022): Later investigative reports mention that as a matter of procedure police collected samples for testing from the victim. That's pretty routine and unremarkable of itself, but it jumped out at me to learn that the truck driver, despite not really being suspected of impairment, actually refused to provide samples as well.

There's nothing inherently wrong with that, but also right after fatally injuring someone seems like a strange time to be uncooperative. Since police didn't suspect anything in particular I don't know if they pushed the matter or got a warrant, but it seems like an odd move under the circumstances. While I make no accusations, it does add more questions about why the truck driver didn't steer clear or stop rather than hit the victim in the road. Let's hope investigators are diligent enough to take all the possibilities into account.

Pedestrian Johnny Powell Killed by 18-Wheeler on I-20 in Longview, TX

ORIGINAL: Preliminary reports seem to have a fair handle on the events of this terrible accident, but so far they're still light on exactly why things went the way they did. It's a pity the car ran off the reportedly-wet road, but there are still a lot of questions and variables to address when trying to learn the truth here.

For instance, how fast was the big rig traveling? What were visibility and sightlines like in that area? Did the victim notice the truck approaching? If not, why not? Are police certain that wet roads were an issue at the time? Could that same wet surface have kept the truck from slowing or stopping? Was the truck driver paying full attention to the road? If not, why not? Could any other factors have been involved?

I don't mean to overcomplicate this matter or point any fingers, but I can't be the only one who finds the narrative frustratingly incomplete right now. There are many reasons a pedestrian might walk on the road, even with active traffic nearby. Some of them I won't go into out of respect for the victim and his family, but others could be identified by a closer look. If police are set to throw up their hands and blame the pedestrian in their reports, maybe an independent investigation would better serve the people who lost a loved one here.

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