• June 06, 2022

Marie Dupre, Connie Carroll, 2 Children Killed in Truck Accident on US-180 in Dawson County, TX

Dawson County, TX — June 4, 2022, Marie Dupre, Connie Carroll, and two children died in a crash with a tractor-trailer on U.S. Highway 180 in Dawson County.

According to reports the incident happened around 11:45 p.m. along US-180, roughly 12 miles west of Lamesa. Preliminary investigation suggests Dupre was driving a Nissan Versa west on the unlit two-lane roadway when she approached an 18-wheeler that was stuck across the lanes. Investigators say the truck driver attempted to make a U-turn and the tractor's tires got stuck in the muddy north bar ditch, creating a roadblock.

The Nissan crashed into the right-rear axle of the semi-trailer, then overturned. Dupre (62), Carroll (78), and two children ages 11 and 10 were killed in the collision. The truck driver, 43-year-old Jose Valle, was unhurt.

No further information is currently available.

Commentary on Marie Dupre, Connie Carroll Accident on US-180 in Dawson County

UPDATE (June 22, 2022): Later reports about this incident also looked into the truck driver's history and found he had at least ten traffic citations over the last six years. They range from administrative issues (expired registration, no license plate) to several moving violations like speeding, running red lights, and operating a vehicle with unsafe equipment. Reports also noted he was involved in several crashes over those same years, some of which police had faulted him for.

With the driver having such a laundry list of problems, it's troubling to me that his employer kept putting him behind the wheel of that truck. An occasional minor error might be overlooked in the name of keeping the company's ranks full and the "load on the road," so to speak, but to continue letting a known careless and/or dangerous driver operate their big rigs reeks of negligent supervision.

This crash is obviously nothing short of tragic. Four lives taken, and all at the hands of a driver known to have far fewer concerns about other people on the road than he should. If his company ignored his history and kept sending him out, maybe they should also be held accountable for the terrible and irreversible damage he did.

Marie Dupre, Connie Carroll, 2 Children Killed in Truck Accident on US-180 in Dawson County, TX

ORIGINAL: Most reputable trucking firms and responsible truck drivers realize the damage they can do if they U-turn on a highway; many firms even penalize their employees for trying it. Whether from knowledge of the risks or a desire to avoid those penalties, most drivers find somewhere else to turn around and trade convenience for safety.

Having said that I suppose some may think fault in this situation is obvious and the trucking company, realizing its employees mistake, will try to make whatever amends it can to the victims' loved ones. Little as I like saying this, these accidents are rarely that simple.

Fortunate folks who've never crashed with an 18-wheeler don't know know about the battles that await those who do. Countless people have been affected by truck driver negligence in some form or another, and almost all of them have found a stubborn trucking company loudly denying responsibility afterward. It will try to deflect fault wherever it can; a few old standbys include visibility problems, bad road design, or even the victims themselves. In the Dawson County situation, for example, defense attorneys might argue the victims took "faulty evasive action" when approaching the truck. That may sound cold-blooded, but they aren't shy about doing what they must to get their client out of hot water.

The best way to get around or through all those deflections and denials is to put together clear evidence that tells the whole story. That kind of thorough investigation is best after any wreck, but rarely more so than when a commercial truck is involved. No matter what preliminary reports say, victims are always better served by getting clear and indisputable proof of what really happened.

Some may think that's just a matter of waiting for police reports, but long experience has shown me those may be incomplete or even wholly mistaken. Instead, the best way to get the truth is to work with independent accident experts who know what to look for. Armed with the proof those experts find many people affected by these accidents have successfully held the right parties accountable.

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