• July 18, 2022

Stephen Hoeller Killed in Multi-Vehicle Crash on I-10 in El Paso, TX

UPDATE (July 20, 2022): Reports have identified the victim of this accident as 67-year-old Stephen Hoeller.

El Paso, TX — July 15, 2022, a motorcyclist was fatally injured in a multi-vehicle crash involving a tractor-trailer on Interstate 10 East in El Paso.

According to reports the incident happened around 5:00 p.m. on I-10 East near Lee Trevino Drive. Preliminary investigation suggests three passenger vehicles, a big rig, and a BMW motorcycle were traveling east in the left lane of the roadway when they encountered traffic congestion ahead.

The driver of a Dodge Charger braked abruptly in response to the traffic and was rear-ended by a Hyundai Elantra. Nearby, the motorcycle crashed into a Nissan Rogue and the rider was ejected. He landed in the next lane where he was run over by the Volvo tractor-trailer.

The rider suffered critical injuries in the accident. They were transported to an area hospital where they died a short time later. None of the crash's other participants were injured.

No further information is currently available.

Commentary on Stephen Hoeller Accident on I-10 in El Paso

UPDATE (July 20, 2022): It looks from later reports as though this chain-reaction event went down suddenly and would have been hard if not impossible to avoid. It may be that all the involved vehicles were traveling too close to one another if none of them were able to stop or steer clear, but depending on how quickly the gridlock formed ahead of them there may have been little anyone could do.

One sticking point in that, however, is that professional truck drivers are meant to know better than to get in a situation where they can't avoid an accident. That means giving other vehicles plenty of space and keeping a watchful eye out for changing conditions--including traffic ahead, which they can typically spot from their high vantage point.

Most truckers are careful and even they can sometimes be caught in situations they can't get out of, but it's important to know for sure whether the driver with a higher standard of care than the others did everything they could not to make things worse. If not, there may be questions of accountability to address.

Stephen Hoeller Killed in Multi-Vehicle Crash on I-10 in El Paso, TX

ORIGINAL: There isn't a lot of clear information yet about how exactly this crash happened or what caused it. Since so many details are still missing, it's best not to try and fill in the blanks with speculation.

Because only clear facts should tell the story, police still need to look into many possible elements:

  • Mistakes by the drivers like distraction, speeding, or failure to yield;
  • Problems or defects in the vehicles involved;
  • Road conditions and design;
  • Visibility, lighting and sightlines;
  • Inclement weather; and
  • Traffic patterns in the area, including what happened in the previous five-vehicle wreck.

That's just a handful of possibilities that must be considered in pursuit of the whole story. Checking all those variables is important, and until more dots are connected it's best not to assume what picture they'll make. Of course, a "by-the-book" police investigation may not fully explain things either.

After a major accident--particularly one involving a commercial truck or a motorcycle, to say nothing of both at once--I suggest an independent investigation to better ensure the whole truth is found. Whatever is learned, those affected deserve to know that no stone was left unturned to find them answers. Any other steps beyond simply learning the truth would depend on what that truth turns out to be.

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