• September 22, 2022

Kenith Herndon Killed in 18-Wheeler Accident on I-20 in Mitchell County, TX

Mitchell County, TX — September 20, 2022, 53-year-old Kenith Herndon died in a fiery single-vehicle truck accident on I-20 in Mitchell County.

Authorities say the incident happened around 6:30 a.m. along I-20 near mile marker 216. Preliminary investigation suggests Herndon was driving west on the highway when he lost control for unknown reasons.

The truck veered left and hit the inside guardrail, then crashed through and fell to the ground below the west- and eastbound bridges. On landing the truck's trailer, reportedly loaded with hydrochloric acid, caught fire.

Herndon was fatally injured in the crash.

The investigation continues. No further information is currently available.

Commentary on Kenith Herndon Accident in Mitchell County

I know investigators are still hard at work figuring out the particulars of this accident, and I'm not coming down on them for not having all the dots connected yet. However, that does mean that reports are light on information, including theories about exactly how or why things went the way they did. Many possible explanations, from driver mistakes to environmental factors to vehicle malfunctions, must be considered to ensure the truth is found.

Another area of investigation that I fear might get overlooked is whether the crash really had to be fatal. It's a poorly-kept secret that the transportation and logistics industry doesn't exactly prioritize the safety of truck drivers when building big rigs. They may seem secure from the outside due to their sheer size, but functionally speaking most of them are little more than a fiberglass shell perched on a heavy steel frame. As long as they stay upright that's usually enough to protect them from crashes with smaller vehicles or trees, but if they get upended then that fiberglass crumples under the truck's weight.

Kenith Herndon Killed in 18-Wheeler Accident on I-20 in Mitchell County, TX

The kicker is that there have been advances made in truck safety, but many manufacturers have been slow to embrace them and truck drivers have suffered in their absence. When that happens, the truck's makers may share some of the responsibility for the damage done since they didn't take all available steps to protect the end-users. I'm not saying anything of the sort was a factor in Mitchell County, but I think it's important to investigate that possibility carefully and thoroughly. Are police equipped to handle that in-depth analysis, or should independent experts step in to fill in more blanks?

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