Harold Leonard Hopkins Jr. Killed in Tractor-Trailer Accident in Howard County, MD
Howard County, MD -- August 26, 2022, Harold Hopkins Jr. was killed due to an accident involving a tractor-trailer and a motorcycle.
Authorities reported that the crash took place at around 11:00 p.m. along Route near the intersection of Brookdale Drive.
According to investigators, 65-year-old Harold Leonard Hopkins Jr. was on a Harley-Davidson traveling northbound on Route 1. According to authorities, a tractor-trailer turned left off southbound lanes, causing a collision with Hopkins's bike.
Due to the collision, Hopkins sustained fatal injuries. No further information about the crash is available at this time.
Commentary on Harold Hopkins Jr. Tractor-Trailer Accident in Howard County
To be rather blunt here, there are few scenarios where this happens without the truck driver screwing up big time. The most up to date images of this intersection I can find show no traffic control for traffic on Route 1, meaning that a truck would have to yield to an oncoming motorcyclist. So what exactly went wrong here? As unlikely as it is, it's certainly possible the motorcyclist did something wrong, such as going excessively over the speed limit or not having their headlight on. But even if that isn't what happened here, it's best victims and families anticipate all of these explanations in the event the trucking company tries to blame the victim.
First of all, blaming the victim might as well be Trucking Company Defense 101. The hope is that the victims and families involved won't have the resources to prove them wrong, and they'll get to dodge some or all of their responsibility. However, that only becomes more problematic in a state like Maryland. This is due to contributory negligence.
Put simply, Maryland is one of only a few states which use contributory negligence, a ridiculous and archaic legal standard. It basically says someone can avoid responsibility for their role in an accident if they can convince others that the victim is just 1% to blame for their own injuries. With odds like that, trucking companies in these states do everything in their power to throw accusations at the wall in the hopes something sticks. The fact people tend to think of the worst of motorcyclists is only going to make that obstacle that much more imposing.
With all of this said, I'm not trying to fearmonger. I'm also not saying I know what did or didn't happen here. I simply wish to emphasize as much as possible how important it is for victims and families to have as much evidence telling their side of the story as possible. As challenging as it can be to deal with trucking company defenses, having the evidence on one's side is almost always an effective tool at ensuring the truth comes to light. Are proper steps being taken here to get that evidence?