• July 11, 2022

Ivan Flores-Heilbron Killed in Crash with 18-Wheeler on US-35 in Ross County, OH

Ross County, OH — July 10, 2022, 50-year-old Ivan Flores-Heilbron was killed in a crash with a tractor-trailer on U.S. Highway 35 in Ross County.

According to reports the incident happened around 4:25 p.m. on US-35 near mile marker 36 and Limerick Road. Preliminary investigation suggests a Peterbilt semi-truck was towing a trailer east when the driver started to turn right onto Limerick.

Behind the truck, Flores-Heilbron was driving a Mercedes Sprinter van east when he allegedly failed to maintain assured clear distance and crashed into the back of the semi-trailer. The impact caused the big rig to run off the road and hit a nearby guardrail, while Flores-Heilbron was trapped inside the van.

Responders extricated Flores-Heilbron and airlifted him to an area hospital, where he died a short time later. The truck driver, 57-year-old Lynn Hornsby Jr, was taken to another hospital for treatment of minor injuries.

The investigation continues. No further information is available at this time.

Commentary on Ivan Flores-Heilbron Accident in Ross County

Folks tend to see a rear-end collision and simply assume the rear driver did something wrong. That's often true considering how regularly things like speeding, following too closely, and distracted driving are found to cause a crash like this. Even Ohio police may be on that bandwagon here, as they mentioned "failure to maintain assured distance."

However, it's irresponsible to jump to any conclusions without conducting more thorough investigations. Experience tells me it's important to look at other factors beyond the victim's control; while less likely than operator error, they cause many similar wrecks too.

Ivan Flores-Heilbron Killed in Crash with 18-Wheeler on US-35 in Ross County, OH

For example, I looked into a crash not long ago where reports painted a picture similar to the one in Ross County. An 18-wheeler was supposedly just traveling on the highway when someone slammed into the back of it for no apparent reason. That was the story in reports for weeks, and people weren't shy about pointing fingers at the rear driver there. Weeks later, though, it came to light that the 18-wheeler had merged from the shoulder without its lights on just before the collision, making it effectively invisible in the dark and moving far too slowly for someone taken by surprise at highway speeds to avoid it.

To be clear, I'm not saying that exact thing happened in Ohio--a truck slowing to turn in broad daylight obviously isn't the same thing as one suddenly appearing ahead in the dark. My point is more that preliminary reports often overlook critical details that could change how a crash is understood. From vehicular failures to road hazards to medical emergencies to tire blowouts--likely or not, weighing every possibility is crucial to getting the whole story. At the very least the victim's loved ones deserve to know no stone was left unturned while seeking answers for them.

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