Christopher Spencer Killed, Robin Sphaler Injured in Henderson County, TX Truck Accident
Henderson County, TX — June 24, 2022, 61-year-old Christopher Spencer died and 67-year-old Robin Sphaler was injured in a Henderson County truck accident.
According to reports the incident happened around 10:25 a.m. at the intersection of FM 753 and FM 59, a few miles outside Athens. Preliminary investigation suggests a Freightliner truck was headed south on FM 59 as Spencer drove a Chevrolet van west on FM 753.
Both vehicles approached the intersection and Spencer alleged failed to yield the right-of-way, traveling into the truck's path. The Freightliner then hit the Chevy on its passenger side. After the impact both vehicles left the road into the west ditch, then crashed though a barbed-wire fence and came to rest in the pasture beyond.
Spencer was pronounced dead at the scene. His passenger Sphaler suffered life-threatening injuries and was taken to a Tyler hospital. The truck driver was evaluated and released at the scene.
No further information is available at this time.
Commentary on Christopher Spencer, Robin Sphaler Accident in Henderson County
Images of the intersection show that traffic on FM 753 has a stop sign and is meant to yield to vehicles on FM 59. It's not clear why the victim didn't wait for the truck to pass, but rather than jump to any conclusions about that it's important to consider the possible explanations.
For example: Did the Chevy have mechanical or brake problems? What about the driver--was he in good health, or could a medical issue have caused him to lose control of the van? Did something block his view of the approaching big rig? Was signage present and clear at the intersection? Could bad weather or hazardous road conditions have been a factor? Is there a history of similar crashes in that area? Is the intersection designed poorly? Could the truck driver have done anything differently to avoid the collision?
I'm not trying to overcomplicate things or point fingers here. Unusual factors are just sometimes overlooked and faulty conclusions are reached during preliminary investigations. For instance, there was a recent incident in West Texas where someone allegedly ran a stop sign and fatally crashed with an 18-wheeler. Reports and police blamed the victim for running the sign, but we found out later the intersection didn't have signs at the time because road-construction crews removed them. The victim didn't even know they had to stop, but until that fact was learned they were unfairly blamed.
It's unlikely the exact same thing happened in Henderson County. I'm just saying that many crashes aren't as simple as they might appear and crucial details are often overlooked or misunderstood. The victim deserves the benefit of the doubt while efforts are made to learn the full story. Will police be thorough enough to get it, or would an independent investigation stand a better chance?