Jean-Pierre Petit Killed in Bicycle/Truck Accident on I-29 near Brookings, SD
Brookings, SD — June 9, 2022, 53-year-old Jean-Pierre Petit was killed when a commercial truck hit his bicycle on Interstate 29 near Brookings.
According to reports the incident happened just before noon on I-29 near mile marker 149. Preliminary investigation suggests Petit was riding a bicycle southward along the fog line of the Interstate when he was hit by an International semi-truck driven by 65-year-old Mark Akkerman.
Petit, reportedly wearing a helmet at the time, suffered life-threatening injuries in the collision. He was transported to a Sioux Falls hospital where he died Monday, June 13. Akkerman was unhurt, and charges are reportedly pending.
No further information is currently available.
Commentary on Jean-Pierre Petit Accident on I-29 near Brookings
Seeing that the trucker may have criminal citations coming may lead people to think justice will be be done and the book can effectively be closed on this accident. However, they may not realize that a driver being charged isn't always the final word on the matter.
Criminal charges are a way for the state to punish a citizen for breaking their laws. That's important, but it also has little to no direct benefit for the people hurt by that person's carelessness. Despite what many may assume, charges don't obligate the driver's employer to do anything for the victims.
As I've mentioned many times before, trucking companies go to great lengths to avoid liability after these incidents. They're well within their rights to do that whether the truck driver faces charges or not, but their habit of denying, disputing, and deflecting blame makes a very frustrating obstacle for people who earnestly just need help getting their lives back in order.
That's why it's important victims and their loved ones take the necessary steps to clearly and convincingly tell their side of the story. They must arrange for a thorough investigation of the scene, the bike, the truck, its driver, and the company behind them. Additionally the must gather as much evidence as they can find, often better accomplished with the help of independent investigators.
To be clear, I'm not encouraging anyone to fire up a lawsuit or saying I know more than police about what happened near Brookings. I just know from long experience that even if a crash's details seem clear on paper, people have been rudely surprised many times by the inventiveness of trucking defense attorneys when it came time to make things right. Little as I like saying it, almost no trucking company will simply do the right thing for victims unless forced to do so by compelling evidence and effective advocacy.