Stephen McNeil, Bobby Nicholson Killed in Southampton County, VA Truck Accident
Franklin, VA — July 25, 2022, two people died in a fiery four-vehicle wreck on Route 58 in Southampton County.
According to reports the incident happened around 11:30 a.m. on eastbound Route 58 at Route 671, close to Armory Drive. Preliminary investigation suggests 70-year-old Stephen McNeil was driving an International tractor-trailer east on the roadway when he approached stopped traffic and, for unknown reasons, crashed into the back of a Kenworth dump truck. The impact pushed the dump truck into another semi-truck nearby and the International truck hit a Chevrolet Malibu.
The dump truck and the International truck caught fire after the collision. McNeil and his passenger, 57-year-old Bobby Nicholson, suffered fatal injuries. Reports indicate Nicholson was ejected from the truck. The Kenworth driver received non life-threatening injuries and was taken to a local hospital. The Malibu driver sustained minor injuries and the other truck driver was unhurt.
The crash is still under investigation but police say impairment is not a suspected factor.
No further information is available at this time.
Commentary on Route 58 Truck Accident in Southampton County
Some may not think it's important to learn the specific reason why the truck plowed into traffic here, but it's always best to know every possible detail--not just to be sure everyone's on the same page, but also because that information is typically needed to ensure the people affected by the crash get any help they're entitled to.
Because the men who died were riding in a big rig, folks may assume their families will automatically get help from workers' compensation and there's little else to say about that. That may be true for the driver if he was in the middle of hauling freight, but it may not be as automatic for the passenger. That deserves more consideration.
If the passenger was a fellow employee and was working at the time, his family may be eligible to receive workers' compensation benefits just like the driver's. However, if he was just along for the ride--a friend, family member, or even just a hitchhiker--and not employed by the driver's company, then his family may have grounds for a wrongful death claim against that company. Likewise, if he was an employee but was off the clock at the time his family may not be limited to workers' comp benefits.
I don't bring all that up just to find someone to sue. I'm trying to point out that commercial truck accidents are rarely simple and usually have further implications. All their particulars must be learned through careful investigation. That typically requires efforts from independent accident reconstructionists who have the experience and equipment to make sure no important details slip through the cracks. Are the authorities in charge of this crash able to offer those resources?