Ronald Wayne Stooksberry, Emilio Reyes, Maribel Padilla, Jose Luis Baeza Killed in Car Accident in Winkler County, TX
Winkler County, TX -- September 1, 2022, Ronald Stooksberry, Emilio Reyes, Maribel Padilla, and Jose Baeza were killed after a car accident.
Right now, details are still under investigation. It appears the collision happened north of Wink along State Highway 114 at around 6:45 p.m.
Officials said conditions were rainy at the time. It appears one vehicle hydroplaned, going into oncoming lanes and hitting another vehicle head-on.
As a result of the crash, 35-year-old Maribel Padilla, Ronald Wayne Stooksberry, and Emillio Reyes sustained fatal injuries. Authorities claim none of them were using seatbelts. One of the drivers, 34-year-old Jose Luis Baeza, also sustained fatal injuries.
Injured in the crash were James Bissing and two minors, a 16-year-old and a 7-month-old. They were said to have serious injuries. Additional information is currently unavailable.
Commentary on Ronald Stooksberry, Emilio Reyes, Maribel Padilla, Jose Baeza Car Accident in Winkler County
I just want to be clear that I don't know anything more about this crash than what's already available to the public. But something that stands out to me is authorities saying that at least three of the victims didn't have seatbelts on. That's entirely possible, but I've found over the years that authorities will almost always say that if someone was thrown from their seat. It's a logical explanation, of course, but it's not the only one.
Faulty latches, weak straps, seatback failures, failing locking mechanisms--seatbelt failures are not that common, but they're a lot more common than folks may realize. Did authorities base their claims on a thorough investigation, or did they just make assumptions based on their impression of the scene? Whatever led to this crash, my concern is simply that the families affected deserve to know they're getting the full story. Details like these make me wonder if getting answers will require more experienced independent investigators.