• September 23, 2022

Nathan Rosentrater Killed in Crossover Accident on NE-92 near Merna

Merna, NE — September 21, 2022, 39-year-old Nathan Rosentrater died in a crossover collision with a semi-truck on State Highway 92 near Merna.

Authorities say the incident happened shortly after 1:00 p.m. on Highway 92, roughly two miles west of town. Preliminary investigation suggests Rosentrater was driving west when he crossed left of center for unknown reasons. After entering oncoming traffic the car hit the front driver's side of an eastbound semi-truck.

Both drivers were transported to an area hospital where Rosentrater was pronounced dead a short time later. The truck driver was treated and released.

The investigation continues. No further information is currently available.

Commentary on Nathan Rosentrater Accident near Merna

Reports suggest the victim crossed left of center and triggered this accident, but there's still a lot of investigating to do before anyone can be sure. Officers' first impressions at the scene are often correct, but I've also seen cases where they missed the mark entirely.

I even saw a case recently in West Texas where police found a car and a truck wrecked in the truck's lane and blamed the car's driver for crossing left of center. At his family's request we looked again and learned the victim only went left of center to escape the truck, which crossed over first when its driver fell asleep. The trucker woke up when he hit the rumble strips and swerved back into his lane--once again into the victim's path. Police found the vehicles in the truck's lane and wrongly blamed the victim, and it took a closer look to clear his name.

Nathan Rosentrater Killed in Crossover Accident on NE-92 near Merna

I'm not saying anything like that happened near Merna, but even if police are sure who crossed over there's still the question of why. What made him go left of center? Was he distracted by something? Did something unusual happen, like a medical emergency or a vehicle malfunction? Was the road wet or hazardous? Could or should the truck driver have done something differently to avoid him?

I'm not out to argue with police findings or point fingers. 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 nothing vital was missed. At the very least the victim's family deserves to know they have the whole story; anything beyond that would depend on what is learned.

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