• June 20, 2022

Stephanie Stokes Killed in Truck Accident on Hwy 80 in Medina County, TX

Midland County, TX — June 16, 2022, 25-year-old Stephanie Stokes was killed in a collision with a tractor-trailer on Highway 80 in Midland County.

According to reported the incident happened around 3:40 p.m. on the 7500 block of Highway 80. Preliminary investigation suggests an International semi-truck was stopped on westbound Highway 80, blocking both lanes as the driver prepared to turn left toward the eastbound lanes.

Stokes, driving a Ford Bronco, approached from behind the truck as it turned into the left lane. She was unable to avoid the collision and hit the back of the truck. Reportedly not wearing a seat belt at the time, she was pronounced dead at the scene. The truck driver was unhurt.

No further information is currently available.

Commentary on Stephanie Stokes Accident on Hwy 80 in Medina County

It's troubling to read reports that say the semi-truck blocked both travel lanes and attempted a wide-sounding turn, all while traffic was clearly approaching from behind it. If those details are correct, it seems a great deal like the truck driver (and his employer) should be held responsible for creating a hazardous roadblock and ultimately causing an innocent person's death. Of course, saying that on paper and actually getting either to admit responsibility are very different things.

Many victims and families have called the firm when they found out a police report wasn't enough to get them the help they needed. When they approached the at-fault driver's company with those reports, they learned the company had its own version of events where either a) their employee did nothing wrong or b) his actions at least weren't the real cause of the victim's injuries.

In the Midland County accident, for example, defense attorneys might use the reported details to say the victim took "faulty evasive maneuvers" as she was unable to avoid the turning truck. They might also point out that she allegedly was not wearing a seat belt, which I've seen them argue many times was the proximate cause of a victim's fatal injuries. Obviously both arguments and others that try to pin the blame on the victim are cold-blooded, but defense attorneys aren't shy about pointing fingers where they must to get their clients off the hot seat.

Stephanie Stokes Killed in Truck Accident on Hwy 80 in Medina County, TX

However ludicrous the defenses may sound, if left unchallenged they may have an impact on a jury. It's best to dismantle them with clear facts and evidence found through careful investigation. If a victim is accused of speeding, find out what their speedometer said at the time of the crash (many speedometers freeze at impact by design). If seat belts were supposedly unfastened, double-check with the responders at the scene to see if they had to cut through the belts and look at the vehicle's electronic data to see if the belt's pretensioners activated properly. Consider weather, lighting, road conditions, the state of repair of both vehicles, and any other details possible--to ensure the crash is fully understood, certainly, but also to close off excuses the company might try to make.

Maybe this will be the rare incident where a trucking firm gracefully accepts blame and tries to make good, but I have seen exactly one company do that in decades of work in this field. Almost every commercial wreck has challenges to overcome to ensure people get the answers and help they need. To be sure they received those they must arm themselves with the evidence, allies, and tools necessary to face the difficulties ahead.

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