Dep. Robert Howard Killed in Crash with 18-Wheeler on Tomball Pkwy in Harris County, TX
Harris County, TX -- May 11, 2022, 27-year-old HCSO Deputy Robert Howard was killed in a collision with a parked tractor-trailer on Tomball Parkway in Harris County.
Authorities say the incident happened around 1:40 p.m. on Tomball Parkway near Spring Cypress Road. Preliminary investigation suggests Deputy Howard was driving a marked HCSO Chevy Tahoe north in the inside lane of the highway. Ahead, a Freightliner semi-truck with an attached trailer was parked on the left shoulder.
According to reports the Tahoe drifted left from the inside lane onto the shoulder for unknown reasons, then hit the parked truck. The SUV then rebounded and hit a northbound Chevy C1500 pickup truck.
Deputy Howard was transported to a Woodlands hospital where he was pronounced dead a short time later. No other injuries were reported.
No further information is currently available.
Commentary on Dep. Robert Howard Accident on Tomball Pkwy in Harris County
Many folks believe that a parked vehicle's driver can't really be responsible if a moving vehicle hits it. That's not actually true, which is why it's best to withhold judgment until investigators have a chance to properly evaluate what happened. It's clearly important to find out why the victim lost control on the highway and hit the parked big rig, but it's also vital to find out more about why the truck was there to begin with.
Federal law has some pretty specific guidelines about how and why a commercial truck can stop in or near the road. According to the law a commercial driver should only pull over for emergencies like disabling vehicular failures or debilitating medical issues. Moreover, once they stop they're required to put out cones or reflective triangles at 50-foot intervals behind the truck to warn approaching motorists. Whether those steps would have helped in Harris County is irrelevant, as they're mandatory anyway.
I'm not claiming to know exactly how things happened on Tomball Parkway, and despite how the above may read I'm not making any accusations either. Preliminary reports aren't thorough enough to include information about why the truck was on the shoulder, how long it had been there, or what the driver did after stopping. There's every possibility that further investigation would show they did everything right. I'm only saying that a closer look is needed to answer several lingering questions in pursuit of the full story.
Rather than just blaming the driver who hit the big rig and thinking no more of it, it's crucial to find out what role each element (parked truck, victim's loss of control, road conditions, weather, visibility, other vehicles, etc) had in the crash and the resulting tragedy. To be sure the whole truth is found, there likely needs to be a thorough examination by a skilled accident reconstructionist to learn this wreck's details and whether it could have been avoided. At the very least that extra level of scrutiny can help provide more answers to the victim's family. They deserve no less.