Christopher Watson Killed in Crash with 18-Wheeler on Hwy 299 in Shasta County, CA
UPDATE (August 25, 2022): The driver killed in this accident has been identified as 46-year-old Christopher Merle Watson.
Shasta County, CA — August 18, 2022, one person died in a head-on collision with a tractor-trailer on Highway 299 in Shasta County.
Reports say the incident happened around 6:30 p.m. on Hwy 299 near Buckhorn Summit. Preliminary investigation suggests a Kia sedan was traveling west on the highway when the driver allegedly tried to pass some vehicles in a sharp corner. He lost control and traveled through the passing lane, then went over the center line into oncoming traffic. The Kia then crashed head-on with an eastbound 18-wheeler. After the impact the big rig caught fire that was quickly contained by firefighters.
The Kia driver died in the collision. The truck driver reportedly escaped his truck before it caught fire and suffered minor injuries.
No further information is currently available.
Commentary on Christopher Watson Accident in Shasta County
Reports suggest the Kia driver crossed left of center and triggered this accident, but it's important to remember that preliminary findings are generally just "best guesses" recorded after a little time at the scene. Many times officers' first impressions are correct, but I've also seen cases where they missed the mark entirely.
I'm not saying that happened in Shasta County, but even if police are absolutely certain of who crossed over there's still the question of why. Reports say the driver lost control while passing, but what caused that loss of control? Was he speeding? Texting? Or did something unusual happen, like a medical emergency? Did the car blow a tire or malfunction somehow? Was the road wet or in poor condition in that area? In the spirit of covering all the bases, was there anything the truck driver could reasonably have done to avoid the oncoming car?
I'm not trying to complicate things or make accusations here. It's just best to consider all the possibilities instead of latching onto preliminary reports' simplified stories. Things are rarely as clear as a few sentences in the news make them seem.
That's why I often suggest that independent accident reconstruction 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.