• May 19, 2022

Vivian Swaim Killed, Child Injured in Crash with Dump Truck near Kilgore, TX

Kilgore, TX -- May 18, 2022, 56-year-old Vivian Swaim died and a 2-year-old child was injured in a crash with a dump truck on U.S. Highway 259 near Kilgore.

Authorities say the incident happened around 11:15 a.m. on the US-259 bypass about half a mile south of Kilgore. Preliminary investigation suggests Swaim was driving a Nissan Titan pickup truck south on the highway close to the Rusk County line as a Chevy C-Series dump truck was northbound in the same area. For reasons not yet known, Swaim reportedly drifted over the center line into the oncoming lane and hit the left side of the dump truck.

Swaim was transported to a Kilgore hospital where she was pronounced dead. A toddler in the pickup suffered critical injuries and was transported to a Shreveport hospital. The dump truck driver was taken to a Longview hospital in stable condition.

No further information is available at this time.

Commentary on Vivian Swaim Accident on US-259 near Kilgore

Reports suggest the victim may have triggered this wreck by crossing left of center. Some may think there's not much else to say if that's the case, but it's important to remember that preliminary reports aren't always 100% correct about a crash. In a few cases I've even seen situations where they were completely wrong about what happened.

I recently worked on a similar wreck where a victim supposedly crossed the center line and crashed with an 18-wheeler. We looked more closely on behalf of the victim's family and learned he was only in the opposite lane to escape the truck, which had crossed over first. It turned out the trucker fell asleep and drifted out of his lane, only to wake up to the victim's frantic horn-honking and swerve sharply back on-course--once again into the victim's path. The crash that followed proved fatal.

Vivian Swaim Killed, Child Injured in Crash with Dump Truck near Kilgore, TX

That situation was pretty unusual, and I'm not saying the Kilgore wreck was the same. Even if authorities are sure the victim crossed over, though, there's still the question of why. Some may reflexively blame texting, speeding, or some other common factors, but there are many other reasons someone might lose control. Could her pickup have blown a tire or had a mechanical failure? What about the driver--did she suffer some kind of medical issue that took away her control? Things like that may not be as common as distracted or careless driving, but they and other possibilities can't be dismissed without proper investigation.

The takeaway here is that things aren't always as straightforward as they first appear. That's why I often suggest working with independent accident reconstruction experts who can devote the proper time and care to finding all the facts. At the very least, the victim deserves the benefit of the doubt unless clear evidence is found that says otherwise.

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