Lewis Smith Killed in Truck Accident on Loop 820 in North Richland Hills, TX
North Richland Hills, TX — May 20, 2022, 34-year-old Lewis Smith was killed in a crash with a commercial truck on Loop 820 in Tarrant County.
According to reports the incident happened around 2:25 p.m. in Loop 820's eastbound toll express lanes near Iron Horse Boulevard. Preliminary investigation suggests a Freightliner semi-truck was towing a trailer east on the Loop in the left lane as Smith was driving a Buick LeSabre east one lane to the truck's right.
Reports indicate Smith made an unsafe lane change directly in front of the truck while traveling at reduced speed. The truck driver steered onto the left shoulder to avoid a collision with the car but was unsuccessful; the Freightliner's trailer hit the Buick and pushed it into the road's south retaining wall.
Smith suffered fatal injuries in the crash. Neither of the truck's occupants were injured.
No further information is currently available.
Commentary on Lewis Smith Accident on Loop 820 in North Richland Hills
Authorities think the victim made an unsafe lane change that triggered the crash. There may be clear evidence of that or they may be taking the trucker's word on what happened; it's not really for me to say. However, as always I strongly encourage further careful investigation to be sure the whole story is known.
Let's take the basic facts and consider them in different situations. In one scenario a slow vehicle cuts into the path of a faster 18-wheeler. If evidence shows that happened and the 18-wheeler driver did everything reasonably possible to avoid a collision, then that driver likely wouldn't and shouldn't be blamed for what happened.
However, if evidence shows a similar situation except that the 18-wheeler driver could reasonably have seen and avoided the victim's vehicle, that may change things. Even if the victim did something wrong, the law generally holds commercial truck drivers to a higher standard than typical motorists. If the victim made an unsafe maneuver but the 18-wheeler behind him was speeding and that's why the driver couldn't react differently, due to his higher standard of care the truck driver's actions might be seen as more dangerous than those of the victim who entered his path.
To be clear, these are simply possibilities to consider. I'm not pointing any fingers with just the limited details of preliminary reports to go on. That's the idea, though: Nobody should assign fault until more work is done. Folks tend to jump to conclusions based on initial police reports, but it takes more thorough accident reconstruction to consider and rule out other potential factors.
Whether one or the other driver did something wrong--or even if something beyond their control was to blame--the important thing right now is to avoid jumping to conclusions until the whole story can be learned. The victim's loved ones deserve no less than the truth.