• May 31, 2022

Lauren Searles Killed in Crash with Parked 18-Wheeler on I-40 in Nashville, TN

Nashville, TN — May 26, 2022, 30-year-old Lauren Searles was killed in a crash with a semi-truck on Interstate 40 in Nashville.

Authorities say the incident happened early Friday morning along I-40 West near mile marker 195.8. Preliminary investigation suggests Searles was driving a Hyundai Elantra along the road when for unknown reasons she lost control. The car veered onto the right shoulder and collided with the back of a stopped 18-wheeler near Highway 70 South.

Searles was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the semi was not injured.

No further information is currently available.

Commentary on Lauren Searles Accident on I-40 in Nashville

Many folks believe that a stopped or parked vehicle can't really be responsible if a moving one hits it, particularly from behind. That may seem reasonable on its face but it's not actually accurate, 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 and hit the parked truck; however, it's also necessary to find out more about why the big rig was there at all.

Federal law is pretty specific about when 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 major 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--even if they're on the shoulder out of the regular flow of traffic.

I don't know exactly how things happened on I-40, nor am I saying the trucker did anything wrong. Preliminary reports aren't thorough enough to include information about why the truck was on the shoulder or what the driver did after stopping there. I'm just suggesting that investigators, either police or independent experts, should address many lingering questions in pursuit of the whole truth.

Rather than instantly blaming the driver who hit the big rig, it's crucial to learn how each element (parked truck, victim's loss of control, road conditions, weather, visibility, other vehicles, etc) affected the crash and the tragic injuries that followed. 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 subtler details and whether its damage could have been avoided. At the very least that extra level of scrutiny can help provide more answers to the victim's family, who deserve all the information they can get.

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