• September 21, 2022

Ross Bergquist Killed in Crash with Tanker Truck on US-281 near Jamestown, ND

UPDATE (September 23, 2022): Sources have identified the UPS driver killed in this crash as 37-year-old Ross Bergquist.

Jamestown, ND — September 20, 2022, a 37-year-old man in a UPS box truck died in a collision with a fuel tanker on U.S. Highway 281 near Jamestown.

Authorities say the incident happened around 9:45 a.m. along US-281 near mile marker 64. Preliminary investigation suggests a Volvo semi-truck was towing a tanker south on the highway, followed at some distance by a Freightliner UPS box truck.

Reports say the Volvo began to slow for a left-hand turn and the UPS driver swerved in an unsuccessful effort to avoid it. The box truck rear-ended the tanker trailer, then ran off the road into the west ditch.

The UPS driver was extricated by responders. He was then taken to an area hospital where he was pronounced dead. The Volvo driver was unhurt.

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

Commentary on Ross Bergquist Accident near Jamestown

The idea that a rear-end crash is always the rear driver's fault, without exception, is one of the most common misconceptions I run into. Investigators do often find that something like speeding, distraction, or following too closely are behind such accidents, but that's not universally true. That's why it's important to look carefully and consider all the possible variables of any accident.

For instance, what is visibility like in that area? Exactly how fast were both trucks traveling before the Volvo started to slow? Were both trucks in proper working order--brakes, steering, lights, safety measures? Did the Volvo driver slow gradually when approaching the turn, or did he brake suddenly? Did he use a turn signal? If so, how long before turning did he activate it? Was the victim awake, alert, and paying attention to his surroundings? If not, why not? Could any witnesses or dashcam footage shed further light on what happened?

I don't want to overcomplicate things or point fingers. I'm only saying what I so often do: When people are hurt or killed in these accidents, it's not right to jump to conclusions. Instead, it's critical to invest the time and resources to understand exactly how and why things went the way they did. That effort might find or confirm a simple explanation, but only after all options are considered can anyone be sure. At the very least the victim should receive the benefit of the doubt unless clear evidence says otherwise.

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