• September 08, 2022

Maria Franco, Orfelinda Mullins Killed in Multi-Vehicle Crash on US-77 in Milam, TX

Milam, TX — September 6, 2022, Maria Franco and Orfelinda Mullins died in a five-vehicle accident on U.S. Highway 77 in Milam.

Authorities say the incident happened Tuesday along US-77. Preliminary investigation suggests a 2017 Dodge Ram 3500 pickup truck was northbound on the highway towing a fifth-wheel travel trailer. Behind the 2017 Ram a 2013 Ram 3500 pickup with a cattle trailer followed at some distance; that pickup was in turn followed by a 2017 Ram 1500.

Investigators believe the 1500 hit the back of the 2013 Ram's cattle trailer, causing it to separate from the attached pickup. The 2013 Ram veered left into the southbound lane of the highway, where it crashed with a Chevrolet pickup. After that impact a Chevy Equinox SUV that was traveling behind the Dodge pickups swerved away from the northbound impact site and also hit the southbound Chevy pickup.

Franco, a passenger in the Chevy pickup, and Mullins, the driver of the Chevy Equinox, both died in the crash. The Chevy pickup's driver and the Equinox's teen passenger were taken to area hospitals. No other injuries were reported.

The investigation is ongoing. No further information is currently available.

Commentary on Maria Franco, Orfelinda Mullins Accident in Milam

While the details of this crash make it a little complicated, ultimately it looks like someone rear-ended another vehicle and triggered this tragic series of events. However, as always it's best to investigate carefully and thoroughly and be sure all the potential variables are addressed.

Here's what I mean: It may be tempting just to blame the pickup driver who hit someone's trailer, but the bigger picture must be looked at as well. If the driver didn't control their speed, why not? Was anything wrong with that Dodge pickup? Was the driver distracted, incapacitated, or possibly impaired? Did the truck with the cattle trailer brake suddenly for some reason ahead of the rearmost pickup? Did the striking driver maintain a reasonable distance between the pickups, or might they have been following too closely? What were road conditions like? What about weather? Visibility? Were any of those pickups commercial, or were they all personal vehicles?

Maria Franco, Orfelinda Mullins Killed in Multi-Vehicle Crash on US-77 in Milam, TX

The point of asking all those questions isn't to overcomplicate the crash or point fingers. I'm only saying what I always do: When people are hurt or killed in a wreck like this, it's important to look carefully not only at how that happened but also the specific reason why. Not only does everyone affected deserve the full story, but clear and indisputable facts are vital for ensuring they get the help they need and deserve. Will police take the time and care needed to connect all the dots, or would an independent investigation do a more complete job?

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