• August 18, 2022

Vanessa Henner Killed in Crossover Accident on Rt 72 in Union Township, PA

Union Township, PA — August 17, 2022, 25-year-old Vanessa Henner died in a collision with a tractor-trailer on Route 72 in Lebanon County.

Reports say the incident happened around 4:30 p.m. on the 2900 block of Route 72. Preliminary investigation suggests Henner was driving a Chevrolet Cavalier north on the highway when she allegedly crossed over the center line for unknown reasons. The Chevy then collided head-on with a southbound 18-wheeler.

Henner suffered fatal injuries in the collision. The truck driver received unspecified injuries and was taken to an area hospital.

The investigation continues. No further information is currently available.

Commentary on Vanessa Henner Accident in Lebanon County

Reports suggest the victim crossed left of center, but I often remind people that preliminary findings are usually just officers' best guesses after a once-over at the scene. Many times their first impressions are right, but I've also seen cases where they missed the mark entirely.

For instance, after a similar crash recently police said the victim crossed the center line and caused the fatal wreck with a big rig. We looked again at his family's request and learned the truck actually crossed over first when its driver fell asleep. He swerved back when the truck hit the rumble strips, but that put him back on a collision course with the victim's car. Police just saw the car in the truck's lane when they arrived and figured he was to blame, and the truck driver didn't set the record straight.

Vanessa Henner Killed in Crossover Accident on Route 72 in Union Township, PA

I want to be clear that I'm not saying that happened in Lebanon County, but even if police are sure the victim crossed over first there's still the question of why. Folks may quickly blame speeding or texting, but they're far from the only possibilities. Did she have a medical emergency? Did her car blow a tire or malfunction somehow? Was the road wet or in poor condition in that area? Did another vehicle force the victim off-course? Even less-common possibilities like those can't be overlooked.

The point here is that things are rarely as clear as a few sentences in the news makes them seem. That's why I often suggest that independent experts take a second look and make sure nothing crucial was missed. At the very least, the victim's family deserves to know every effort was made to learn the whole story. Any other steps beyond that would depend on what the story turns out to be.

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