• June 08, 2022

Jose Izaguirre Killed in Truck Accident on TX-31 in Gregg County

Gregg County, TX -- June 7, 2022, 21-year-old Jose Izaguirre was killed in a crash with an 18-wheeler on State Highway 31 in Gregg County.

Authorities say the incident happened around 6:00 a.m. on Highway 31 near I-20, just outside of Kilgore. Preliminary investigation suggests a Volvo tractor-trailer stopped at a yield sign on TX-31 in preparation to turn right onto the entrance ramp of I-20.

Reports say the truck started to turn and failed to give the right of way to Izaguirre as he approached in a Toyota Solara. The car hit the truck's trailer and became partially wedged underneath.

Izaguirre suffered fatal injuries in the collision. The truck's driver and passenger were unhurt.

The investigation is ongoing. No further information is available at this time.

Commentary on Jose Izaguirre Accident in Gregg County

UPDATE (June 30, 2022): Later reports about this crash say the truck driver faces a potential charge of criminally negligent homicide. Folks may think that a charge like that means the driver and his employer are automatically liable for the victim's injuries, but the law doesn't quite work that way.

Criminal and civil law are functionally separate, as are the consequences for violating them. While criminal charges sometimes help establish a driver's wrongdoing, "guilt" and "liability" aren't the same. The trucker's employer is free to dispute that they're responsible for the damage done. I've seen them blame anything else they can think of--including the victims themselves--rather than agree to make things right.

Making sure the company can't hoodwink a jury into believing they're not the bad guys can be a difficult task for a victim or family still struggling with injuries and loss, but it's vital to locate clear evidence proving their side of the story. That's why I often recommend that they work with investigators who will look into the matter on their behalf, which police don't actually do (another common misunderstanding). With the facts on their side people can hold the right parties responsible for the terrible and irreversible damage they do.

Jose Izaguirre Killed in Truck Accident on TX-31 in Gregg County

ORIGINAL: If reports are accurate some may think there's not much else to say--a truck driver failed to yield and tragedy followed. It's still important to clarify exactly why that happened, but no matter what's discovered I have a feeling the driver and his employer won't agree the fault belongs to them.

Crash victims often call the firm after wrecks like this when they learn police findings aren't enough to get them the help they need. When they approached an at-fault driver's company with those reports, they learned the company was ready with its own version of events where either a) their employee did nothing wrong at all or b) his actions weren't the real cause of the victim's injuries. Preparing for that pushback can make all the difference when trying to hold the right parties accountable for a commercial truck accident.

For example, a crash much like the one in Gregg County came across my desk some time ago. In that one an 18-wheeler turned into the path of a car on the highway, causing fatal injuries in the wreck. Police put the truck driver at fault in their reports, but the company disputed their findings and denied responsibility. They said the victim was speeding, didn't have his seatbelt on, and "took faulty evasive maneuvers," all of which put together were more directly responsible for his injuries than the trucker's carelessness was. That was pretty heartless, but defense attorneys aren't shy about pointing fingers to get their clients off the hot seat.

Only after we overcame that company's arguments with clear and indisputable evidence did it finally agree to help the victim. I'm not saying anything like that's bound to happen after the TX-31 accident, but almost every commercial wreck has challenges to overcome. Trucking companies and insurance companies have a great deal to lose so they fight hard not to. For victims and families to get the help they deserve and to see the right parties held accountable, they need to arm themselves with the evidence, allies, and tools necessary to face the challenges ahead.

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