• October 26, 2022

Michael Helms Killed in Truck Accident on US-65 in Leslie, AR

Leslie, AR — October 24, 2022, 65-year-old Michael Helms died in a collision with a tractor-trailer on US. Highway 65 in Searcy County.

Authorities say the incident happened around 1:30 p.m. along US-65 near Little Red River Bridge. Preliminary investigation suggests Helms was driving a Ford vehicle north on the highway when he may have lost control somehow. His vehicle reportedly crossed over the center line into the southbound lanes, where it collided head-on with a Freightliner semi-truck.

Helms suffered serious injuries in the collision.

No further information is currently available.

Commentary on Michael Helms Accident on US-65 in Leslie

It's important to keep an open mind and investigate carefully after any crash, as things may not be as straightforward as they seem. Even with something like an alleged crossover wreck where one driver entering the other's lane may seem like the obvious cause, steps should be taken to ensure all the specifics are clear.

For example, I handled a similar accident not long ago in which a victim was faulted for crossing left of center and crashing with a big rig. Our experts looked again on the victim's behalf, though, and found police actually made a mistake: The truck driver actually drifted left of center first after falling asleep at the wheel. The victim crossed over to avoid the big rig but the truck driver woke up and corrected course at the same time. Police just found the crashed vehicles in the truck's lane and assumed the victim was to blame.

I'm not suggesting the same thing happened in Arkansas, but even if police are 100% 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 any other extenuating factors have influenced what happened?

I don't want to overcomplicate things 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 even after police wrap up 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.

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