• September 06, 2022

Michael Woodley Killed in Crossover Accident on US-45 in Saline County, IL

Saline County, IL — September 1, 2022, 50-year-old Michael Woodley died after a four-vehicle accident on U.S. Highway 45 in Saline County.

Authorities say the incident happened around 4:45 p.m. on US-45. Preliminary investigation suggests Woodley was driving a Dodge Ram pickup south on the highway when he crossed left of center for unknown reasons. After entering the oncoming lane the Ram sideswiped two other vehicles, then crashed head-on into a Kenworth tractor-trailer.

Woodley died shortly after being taken to a hospital. The Kenworth driver was airlifted to a regional hospital; the sideswiped drivers were unhurt.

The investigation continues. No further information is currently available.

Commentary on Michael Woodley Accident in Saline County

People tend to look at crossover accidents like this one and conclude they were the crossover driver's fault without much further consideration. While it's true that operator errors like speeding and texting often account for wrecks like the one on US-45, they can't be taken for granted as the true explanation before a more comprehensive investigation is conducted. No one would consider it fair to take the blame for an accident they know for certain wasn't their fault, and the victim deserves the same benefit of the doubt as anyone else.

Michael Woodley Killed in Crossover Accident on US-45 in Saline County, IL

So if not a driver mistake, then what? Well, there are quite a few possible explanations for something like this--things that a police once-over at the scene and a few sentences in the news don't often account for. The road might have been wet or unstable in that area, or the lane markings could have been faded or obscured. Rather than texting or being distracted, what if the victim had a medical episode that rendered him unconscious? Could the Ram have had some kind of defect or malfunction that sent it off-course?

That's just a few possibilities of many, but all of them must get proper consideration to be sure the truth is found. Unfortunately I've learned over the years that law enforcement sometimes jumps to conclusions of its own, and in those cases the facts go unseen. To be sure that doesn't happen, it's often better to have independent experts take a closer look on the family's behalf. That may only ensure they get the whole story, or it may show that further action is warranted. Only time could tell.

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