• July 18, 2022

Heather Cole Killed in Crossover Accident on OH-380 in Chester Township

Chester Township, OH — July 15, 2022, 27-year-old Heather Cole was killed in a collision with a semi-truck on Highway 380 in Clinton County.

According to reports the incident happened Friday night along Ohio 380. Preliminary investigation suggests Cole was driving a compact car on the roadway when she crossed left of center for unknown reasons. The car then crashed head-on with a tractor-trailer driven by 51-year-old Jeffrey Thompson. After the impact both vehicles ran off the west side of the road.

Cole was pronounced dead at the scene. Thompson received minor injuries and was treated at an area hospital.

The investigation continues. No further information is currently available.

Commentary on Heather Cole Accident in Chester Twp

Early reports suggest the victim may have triggered this crash by crossing left of center. I have no specific reason to doubt that, but I've done this long enough to know that preliminary findings should be taken with a grain of salt. It's always important to investigate thoroughly and account for other possibilities, as many cases involve unusual circumstances.

I recently worked on a similar wreck in which a victim supposedly crossed the center line and crashed with an 18-wheeler. We looked more closely on behalf of that victim's family and learned he was trying to escape the truck, which crossed over first when the trucker fell asleep. The truck hit the rumble strips, the driver woke up, and he swerved back toward his lane--once again entering the victim's path.

Heather Cole Killed in Crossover Accident on OH-380 in Chester Township

Because police found both vehicles in the truck's lane when they got there, they said the victim crossed over. The trucker didn't feel the need to set the record straight, so if not for our second look the wrong person might have taken the blame forever.

I'm not saying anything like that happened in Ohio, but the point is that things aren't always as clear-cut as they first appear. Unfortunately police don't always look carefully enough to learn that, especially if they've already drawn conclusions.

To be sure the whole truth is found I often suggest working with independent accident reconstruction experts rather than waiting for or relying on police reports. In the meantime the victim deserves the benefit of the doubt while things are still coming into focus.

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