Jesus Zuniga Killed, Jose Santillan-Hernandez Injured in Crossover Crash on US-69 in Atoka County, OK
Atoka County, OK — September 14, 2022, 35-year-old Jesus Zuniga died and his passenger was injured in a three-truck accident on U.S. Highway 69 in Atoka County.
Authorities say the incident happened around 2:40 p.m. on US-69 north of Stringtown. Preliminary investigation suggests Zuniga was southbound in a pickup truck on the highway when he lost control for unknown reasons. The pickup went left of center and hit cable barriers, then traveled into the northbound lane and collided with a semi-truck. The big rig then ran off the highway and overturned; it was then hit by a second 18-wheeler.
Zuniga suffered fatal injuries in the crash. A passenger in the pickup, 30-year-old Jose Santillan-Hernandez, sustained serious injuries and was airlifted from the scene. One truck driver was treated and released on the spot, while the other was taken to an area hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
The investigation continues. No further information is currently available.
Commentary on Jesus Zuniga Accident in Atoka County
I've heard some people talk about crossover wrecks like they're simple--"Once you know who went left of center, that's that." However, few if any wrecks are settled that simply and a comprehensive investigation is almost always necessary. Even if police are sure that things happened as they reported, there's still the urgent question of why the pickup went left of center. What made the driver lost control? Was he speeding? Distracted? Or did something unusual happen, like a medical emergency or a vehicle malfunction? Was the road wet or hazardous? Did either semi-truck driver have time or room to react and potentially avoid the collision?
I'm not arguing with police or saying I know more than the news tells us. It's just best to keep an open mind as the investigation continues. Things are rarely as straightforward as they first seem, so I often suggest that independent experts take a second look and make sure police didn't miss anything on the first pass. At the very least the people affected by the accident deserve to know they have the whole story; anything beyond that would depend on what is learned.