• September 28, 2022

Scott Sorenson Killed, Teen Injured in Crossover Crash on US-34 near Utica, NE

Utica, NE — September 23, 2022, 42-year-old Scott Sorenson died and a minor was critically injured in a crash on U.S. Highway 34 in York County.

Authorities say the incident happened around 6:20 a.m. on US-34, around two miles outside Utica. Preliminary investigation suggests the minor was driving east on the highway when her vehicle crossed left of center for unknown reasons. It then crashed into Sorenson's westbound vehicle, after which Sorenson traveled into the bar ditch on the roadside.

Sorenson was ejected from his vehicle in the collision. He was taken to an area hospital where he was pronounced dead. The minor driver was airlifted to a hospital in Omaha where she was listed in critical condition.

The investigation continues. No further information is available at this time.

Scott Sorenson Killed, Teen Injured in Crossover Crash on US-34 near Utica, NE

Commentary on Scott Sorenson Accident in York County

Early reports about this accident only say that a young driver crossed left of center and triggered the crash. Even if investigators are certain of that, it still doesn't shed much light on exactly why things went that way. Hopefully they're hard at work figuring that part out, but I have some misgivings about how much effort anyone should really expect them to invest.

People have a habit of thinking that a police investigation is the be-all and end-all way to resolve all questions about the cause and circumstances of a crash, but that's not really why officers are at the scene. They're looking for signs of broken laws, pure and simple. They put together a basic timeline of events in the process, and sometimes there's little else to find besides what they report. However, I've lost count of the times that independent experts have turned up critical factors--poor road conditions, vehicle malfunctions or defects, bad weather--that were instrumental in a wreck.

If police miss critical details they run the risk of putting out incomplete or incorrect reports, which can be a real problem if victims and families go looking for answers or help. Is there a chance that could happen here, and would a second look by independent experts help avoid that problem?

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