• July 21, 2022

Tonya Tate Killed, Three Injured in Crash on I-35 in Temple, TX

Temple, TX — July 20, 2022, 62-year-old Tonya Tate died and three people were injured in a rollover crash on Interstate 35 in Temple.

According to reports the incident happened shortly before 1:40 p.m. on I-35 near the 5100 block of South General Bruce Drive. Preliminary investigation suggests only that Tate was driving a vehicle south on the highway when she crashed under unknown circumstances with another vehicle. After the impact the car rolled over.

Tate suffered fatal injuries in the crash. Two 33-year-old women in the car received critical injuries and a 23-year-old man sustained non-life-threatening injuries. Police say none of the car's occupants were wearing seat belts. the people in the other vehicle did not report any injuries.

No further information is currently available.

Commentary on Tonya Tate Accident on I-35 in Temple

I often find that little attention is paid to crashes like this one. People see one car hit another, decide somebody was speeding or texting, and write the matter off without bothering to look for more information.

It's true that driver mistakes cause a lot of wrecks, but that's not universal and they can't be taken for granted. Anything from a medical emergency to a defective auto part to hazardous road conditions could cause vehicles to hit one another, so investigators must consider those and other possibilities. Even glossed-over details in reports are worth further scrutiny, as they're not always as simple as they may seem.

Tonya Tate Killed, Three Injured in Crash on I-35 in Temple, TX

For instance, reports claim the victims weren't wearing seat belts. I'm not saying I know otherwise, but I've also learned over the years that police will just report that without actually verifying it. If they don't find the belt across the victim's body when they get there, they say it wasn't used. However, closer investigations have shown many times that belt actually failed--its locking pretensioners didn't fire, or the buckle coupling broke. Those issues aren't obvious from the outside, but they change the context of a crash significantly.

Maybe things are exactly how they seem in Temple, but preliminary reports and a once-over at the scene likely can't say that for sure. As with most accidents, extensive independent effort will probably be needed to ensure the whole truth is known. The people affected by the crash deserve no less.

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