• May 23, 2022

Erik O’Brien Killed in Crash with 18-Wheeler on I-76 in Milton Township, OH

Milton Township, OH -- May 21, 2022, 44-year-old Erik O’Brien was killed in a rear-end collision with a tractor-trailer on Interstate 76 in Milton Township.

Authorities say the incident happened around 4:30 p.m. on westbound I-76 near mile marker 51.7 over Lake Milton. Preliminary investigation suggests only that O’Brien was driving a Ford Fiesta west on the road when he crashed into the back of an 18-wheeler for unknown reasons.

O’Brien suffered fatal injuries in the crash. The truck driver was unhurt.

No further information is currently available.

Commentary on Erik O’Brien Accident on I-76 in Milton Twp

Something I talk about a lot on this blog is the misconception that rear-end collisions are always the rear driver's fault. To be clear, I can't say with certainty what happened in this crash. However, experience tells me some folks will already blame the victim without much extra thought. It's true that many of these accidents are the result of a driver speeding, driving while distracted, or otherwise being reckless, but what about other possible contributing factors?

Erik O’Brien Killed in Crash with 18-Wheeler on I-76 in Milton Township, OH

What exactly was going on with the 18-wheeler in this crash? Was it stopped, moving slowly, or just traveling normally? Did the truck driver switch lanes abruptly or unsafely? If so, did they at least signal first? How fast was the victim traveling at the time? Is the roadway itself designed poorly or hazardous in that area? Could the victim's control have been taken away by a medical emergency? Was there any other traffic around? Did investigators find any helpful information from eyewitnesses or the truck's dashcam?

None of those questions and the many others like them that need attention are meant to complicate things or make any accusations. I read the same reports as everyone else and I'm not pointing fingers after just a few sentences in the news. I'm really just trying to say what I always do: When people are hurt or killed in accidents like this it's important to put in the work and find the clear facts explaining how and why that occurred. Folks are often tempted to jump to conclusions based on what little reports can say at first, but proper investigation will dig deeper to find the truth. The victim's loved ones deserve as many answers as can be provided. If there are any other steps to take, knowing that will largely depend on what those answers turn out to be.

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