Rimantas Labeika Killed in 18-Wheeler Rollover Accident on US-54 near Corona, NM
Corona, NM -- May 17, 2022, 54-year-old Rimantas Labeika died when his tractor-trailer left U.S. Highway 54 and overturned near Corona.
Authorities say the incident happened around 7:30 a.m. on US-54 near mile marker 151, south of town. Preliminary investigation suggests Labeika was driving north on the highway when he lost control for unknown reasons. The truck ran off the road, hit a guardrail, then overturned and rolled one or more times.
Labeika suffered fatal injuries in the crash. Investigators don't know if he had a seat belt on, but say impairment isn't suspected as a factor.
No further information is available at this time.
Commentary on Rimantas Labeika Accident on US-54 near Corona
It's one thing to read that a truck went off-course and crashed, but understanding how that happened is something else entirely. If the driver lost control, why? Was he distracted by something--his phone, the radio, or food for example? Did he fall asleep? Could he have had some kind of incapacitating medical issue at the wheel? If so, what kind? Was the truck itself in good working order? What were weather, road, and traffic conditions like in the area at the time?
Some may not think there's much reason to figure all that out because "workers' comp will handle it." That may be, but in many cases a thorough investigation shows that someone should be held accountable for the damage done. For instance, if the truck crashed because something in or on it broke due to neglected maintenance, whoever was responsible for its upkeep may be responsible for sending the driver out in a questionable rig. That's only one example, but on principle the parties responsible for this terrible accident should be held liable for their role in it.
Identifying those parties and making sure they do what's right can be tricky. Many victims and families that sought justice learned the hard way that no matter how clear things seem at first, it usually takes more than police or news reports to secure the help they need. That's why I often suggest the help of independent investigators with the time, tools, and training to look much closer than law enforcement typically does. With the evidence they find, people whose lives are forever changed by these accidents are often able to get back on their feet.