• October 25, 2022

3 Children Killed, 2 Adults Injured in 18-Wheeler Crash on US-259 in Le Flore County, OK

Le Flore County, OK — October 19, 2022, three children died and two adults were injured in a single-vehicle crash on U.S. Highway 259 in Le Flore County.

Authorities say the incident happened around 9:30 a.m. along US-259 southeast of Muse. Investigators did not provide many details about the cause or circumstances of the wreck, only saying that a Volvo semi-truck crashed along the highway.

Three children in the truck ages 6, 8, and 9 were pronounced dead at the scene. The truck's 37-year-old driver and its 31-year-old passenger were airlifted to a Hot Springs hospital for treatment of serious injuries.

The investigation continues but reports say weather was clear and roads were dry. Police say none of the truck's occupants were wearing seat belts, and the truck reportedly had no airbags.

No further information is currently available.

Commentary on Le Flore County Truck Accident on US-359

In my experience people tend to jump to certain conclusions when they read about single-vehicle accidents. Without anything specifically blamed in news reports folks tend to think the vehicle's driver must be at fault. However, it's never right to jump to that conclusion. While investigators sometimes conclude operator error like speeding or distraction was the root cause of a wreck, in many cases something else is found to be root cause of the injuries involved.

For instance, it jumps out at me that the truck reportedly had no airbags installed. That certainly needs more investigation as I have a hard time believing a semi-truck is considered roadworthy without a full suite of functional safety equipment. It also makes me wonder a little about police claims that no one had a seat belt on; in a truck with no airbags could it not be possible that the seat belts simply didn't work correctly for one or more victims?

3 Children Killed, 2 Adults Injured in Le Flore County, OK Truck Accident

I don't mean to overcomplicate this matter, but I think most would agree that a crash with results this tragic needs further careful investigation--both to find its cause and to figure out the proximate cause of everyone's injuries. If authorities don't have the right tools and experience to get to the bottom of things, I'm concerned they'll just find a "good enough" explanation and then move on. That's how crucial details slip through the cracks, and incomplete or incorrect police reports can be hugely problematic for victims and families in search of answers or help. Should someone else step in and do a more thorough job connecting the dots?

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