• September 22, 2022

Ricky Cook Killed in Collision with 18-Wheeler on AL-165 in Russell County

Russell County, AL — September 20, 2022, 65-year-old Ricky Cook died in a collision with a tractor-trailer on Alabama Highway 165 in Russell County.

Authorities say the incident happened around 5:10 p.m. on AL-165 near mile marker 20, south of Phenix City. Preliminary investigation suggests Cook was driving a Chrysler Town and Country minivan on the highway when he collided under unknown circumstances with a Kenworth tractor-trailer driven by 60-year-old Thomas Richards.

Cook suffered fatal injuries in the crash. No other injuries were reported.

No further information is currently available.

Ricky Cook Killed in Collision with 18-Wheeler on AL-165 in Russell County

Commentary on Ricky Cook Accident in Russell County

Reports are pretty light on clear information about what happened in this wreck, and yet despite clearly having few facts to report they don't seem to mind saying the victim "crashed into the 18-wheeler." That language seems weighted pretty heavily against the victim considering all anyone seems to know is that a minivan and a truck collided.

It may seem like I'm taking that a little too literally, but language matters--particularly when someone might need to refer to a report's description of events later in pursuit of answers or help. Unless it's categorically and indisputably known that the victim hit the truck, saying so in the report seems irresponsible--and frankly I don't believe that police have every single duck in a row just two days after this tragic crash occurred.

That touches on something that often troubles me about police investigations: They're not always thorough enough to account for all points of concern. They look for evidence of broken laws and put together a rough timeline of events, but expecting them to look into subtler or more-complex factors like vehicle failures or defects may be fruitless. That's why I often suggest that independent experts take another look and fill in any remaining blanks police leave behind. At the very least, the people affected by this crash deserve to know that all care was taken to bring them the whole story.

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