Angela Oehmen, Teen Killed; Child Injured in Crash with Semi-Trailer near Wanatah, IN
Wanatah, IN — October 4, 2022, Angela Oehmen and her teen son died and another child was injured in a crash with a big rig's detached trailer near Wanatah.
Authorities say the incident happened just before 8:00 a.m. along U.S. Highway 30 near a truck stop outside Wanatah. Preliminary investigation suggests a tractor-trailer was exiting the Plaza 30 Truck Stop onto the eastbound highway when its trailer detached. Oehmen's Kia vehicle then crashed into the rear of the detached trailer in the eastbound lane.
Oehmen and her 14-year-old son were killed in the collision. A second child in the Kia was taken to an area hospital for treatment of serious bodily injury. The truck driver was unhurt.
No further information is currently available.
Commentary on Angela Oehmen Accident near Wanatah
Accidents involving a trailer coming loose are generally even more complex than a typical 18-wheeler wreck, mostly because determining who's responsible means finding out who was supposed to ensure the truck's trailer was secured properly before it hit the road.
Most of the time that responsibility falls to the truck drivers themselves; the majority of accidents like this happen because a trucker didn't ensure his load was secured properly before driving. However, in some cases another company owns, loads, and/or attaches the trailer and the driver's responsibility lies almost entirely with simply transporting the cargo from A to B. In those instances whoever failed to attach the trailer properly at the beginning may be liable for the damage it ended up doing on the highway.
Another possible scenario, while rare, is a manufacturing defect. Every so often, a defective hitch may cause a trailer to break loose even though whoever attached it did everything they were supposed to. In these cases, the part's manufacturer may be responsible for the damage done--and should also recall the faulty line of hitches immediately to avoid other similar accidents.
Determining which of these situations (or another entirely) occurred near Wanatah would likely be no simple task. Finding out exactly what happened would likely take an extensive investigation by an expert investigator. Given the seriousness of the situation, the sooner a professional with the right tools and training looks into this, the better.
For those looking to know more about detached trailer accidents, our article here provides further information on the subject.