Marvin Patterson Dead in Log Truck Accident on Cedar Bluff Rd in Centre, AL
Centre, AL — August 30, 2022, 59-year-old Marvin Patterson died in a log truck accident on Cedar Bluff Road in Centre.
Authorities say the incident happened around 11:30 a.m. along Cedar Bluff near Northwood Drive. Preliminary investigation suggests the fully-loaded log truck was headed north on the roadway when Patterson allegedly suffered a possibly-fatal heart attack and lost control. The truck left the road and crashed into two utility poles, then rolled over onto its side.
The investigation continues. No further information is currently available.
Commentary on Marvin Patterson Truck Accident in Centre
People may think of cardiac events as essentially being out of the blue, and obviously nobody plans to have one. However, most medical problems bad enough to truly incapacitate a professional truck driver are due to long-standing conditions that their employer should have known about. Trucking companies have an obligation to remove drivers from service if there's a statistically-significant chance their health problems could keep them from safely doing their jobs. Most companies conduct regular physicals to detect signs of problematic health conditions--not just with the heart, but in any area that potentially could take a driver out of commission at highway speeds.
I worked on a similar accident where a truck driver had a medical emergency and caused a serious crash. At first it seemed unavoidable, but we eventually learned his condition was well-known to his employer and they put him on the road anyway. It was really just a matter of time before calamity struck, and by not removing the driver from service the company put his life and others at risk. What they tried to label a "surprising tragedy" turned out to be their failure to exercise due diligence.
Having said all that, I am making no accusations of similar negligence here--nor do I mean to insinuate anything about the victim's ability to do his work. My point is just that we don't know everything yet about what happened or whether it could reasonably have been prevented, so the only logical thing to do is carefully investigate every possibility. The victim's family would likely appreciate more answers about their sudden and tragic loss, including whether he should have been pulled from service for safety reasons. If law enforcement won't pursue the investigation past the immediate details of the crash, then maybe it's be best for independent investigators to dig deeper.