Virgie Turner, One Other Killed, Gabriel Presidado Injured in Fiery Truck Accident on US-287 in Cimarron County, OK
UPDATE (August 29, 2022): The U-Haul passenger who died in this accident has been identified as 77-year-old Virgie Johnson Turner. Reports say the U-Haul's unidentified driver was a 26-year-old man Turner hired to help her move from Denver to Houston.
Cimarron County, OK — August 24, 2022, two people died and Gabriel Presidado was injured when two trucks crashed on US-287 in the Oklahoma Panhandle.
Reports say the incident happened around 7:00 a.m. on US-287, roughly five miles north of Boise City. Preliminary investigation suggests a U-Haul truck was southbound on the highway when the driver lost control for unknown reasons. The truck crossed over the center line and crashed with a northbound Freightliner big rig driven by 47-year-old Presidado. After the impact both vehicles caught fire.
Both occupants of the U-Haul died at the scene. Presidado, 47, was airlifted to a Lubbock hospital for treatment of critical injuries.
The investigation continues. No further information is currently available.
Commentary on US-287 Truck Accident in Cimarron County
It most likely goes without saying, but I'll say it anyway: Drivers very rarely cross left of center on purpose. Barring those occasional exceptions, a vehicle only crosses the center line when something goes wrong. That's why finding out exactly what happened here is crucial. It's possible the whole thing was a freak accident and couldn't have been foreseen, and many crossover wrecks are caused by a driver looking away from the road or falling asleep, but a more troubling possibility is that the U-Haul went out of control due to some kind of mechanical problem.
There are generally two reasons something like that could happen. One is poor maintenance: If a company fails to keep its trucks in good working condition, the worn-out or damaged parts in those vehicles can fail and lead to an accident like this. In that situation, finding out which U-Haul location this came from and looking at their maintenance records would be crucial in holding them responsible for neglecting the truck but still allowing people to rent it.
It's also possible the truck had a defective part that failed while it was on the road. In that case, bringing that issue to light would be important not just for holding the manufacturer accountable but also to help recall and fix other vehicles before more people get hurt.
All in all, it's likely going to take a lot more than a simple police report to get to the bottom of what happened here. Are the right people getting answers for everyone affected by this tragic crash?