Yazmin Topete Injured in Crash with Truck on IA-10 near Hawarden
Hawarden, IA — June 28, 2022, 20-year-old Yazmin Topete was injured in a crash with a tractor-trailer on State Highway 10 near Hawarden.
According to reports the incident happened just before 5:00 p.m. on IA-10 at Coolidge Avenue. Preliminary investigation suggests Topete was driving a Jeep Liberty west on the highway as a Mack semi-truck with a feed trailer was northbound on Coolidge.
The truck driver, 29-year-old Brandon Dekkers, stopped at the roads' crossing but then pulled the truck forward into the path of Topete's Jeep. The vehicles collided in the roadway.
Topete was injured in the crash and was transported to an area hospital. No other injuries were reported.
Dekkers was cited for failure to yield the right of way.
No further information is currently available.
Commentary on Yazmin Topete Accident near Hawarden
I often write about crashes like this one because a lot of people don't realize just how complex they really are. At a glance, police said the truck driver failed to yield to thru-traffic at the the intersection. That should make this pretty open-and-shut, right? Not necessarily.
Even if police cite or charge a truck driver after a crash, the trucking company still has every right to deny liability for a victim's injuries. Police are functionaries of the criminal justice system, and criminal and civil matters are separate. Their efforts can sometimes aid crash victims, but helping them hold a trucking company liable isn't part of the job description. That means the burden of proving what really happened and getting help with their recovery falls to the victims themselves.
That's often quite a task considering how hard trucking companies fight to avoid responsibility after a crash. I've litigated hundreds of truck wrecks over the years, and only once in all that time did a company simply step up and do the right thing without fighting every step of the way.
In fact, I litigated another crash like the Iowa incident not long ago. An 18-wheeler and a car crashed at a light, and it seemed clear that the truck driver was to blame. The victim had to hire us, however, because the trucking company dug in its heels and denied it. They thought there was no proof their driver screwed up, only changing their tune after we subpoenaed surveillance footage from a nearby business that clearly showed the truck driver running the light.
The fact of the matter is it costs nothing for a company to deny responsibility, so why wouldn't they at least try? Their hope is that the victims and families hurt in the crash won't have anyone on their side to even the odds, or they'll wait too long and crucial evidence will slip through the cracks. It's important to make sure that doesn't happen.