• October 26, 2022

Neal Ward, Kelly Ward, Shirley Dolan, Linda Royal Killed in Truck Accident in Wharton County, TX

UPDATE (November 30, 2022): I've seen sources talk about the truck driver involved here apparently saying that he "thought he could make it" when crossing the path of the Wards' truck. Generally speaking, when I talk to responsible truckers, they don't "think" they have enough time. They either know they do and no one gets hurt, or they're not sure and they play it safe so no one gets hurt. Obviously, people got hurt here. So as I said below, it's important steps are taken to find out what decisions led to this outcome and who ultimately is responsible.

Wharton County, TX -- October 23, 2022, Neal Ward, Kelly Ward, Shirley Dolan, and Linda Royal were killed after an accident involving a semi.

Officials said that the incident happened at around 9:00 p.m. along US Highway 59 in the area of County Road 309.

Initial details given indicate that 77-year-old Neal Ward was the driver of a Ford F-150 traveling northbound along US 59. Riding in the vehicle were 58-year-old Kelly Ward, 79-year-old Shirley Dolan, and 75-year-old Linda Royal.

According to officials, a southbound semi-truck crossed northbound lanes to go onto CR-309. Doing so, the two vehicles collided. Due to the crash, Neal and Kelly Ward, Dolan, and Royal all sustained fatal injuries. No other injuries occurred.

At this time, additional details about the crash are unavailable.

Commentary on Neal Ward, Kelly Ward, Shirley Dolan, Linda Royal Truck Accident in Wharton County

To be rather blunt, there are few scenarios in which something horrible like this occurs without the truck driver involved doing something wrong. The most recent images of this intersection I can find clearly show that southbound traffic would have to yield. Perhaps a light has been added since, but it would not be surprising if this all just came down to one reckless, inattentive trucker.

With that said, it's important not to simply believe that and move forward without taking the proper steps to let the evidence speak for itself. Whether the truck driver did something wrong or not, it's important the victims' loved ones know they're getting the whole story. If something unusual happened, they deserve to know the truth. If someone is responsible for the deaths, they need the tools to ensure those parties are held accountable. After all, there will no doubt be a company on the other side doing everything in their power to put their thumb on the scale. But how could they do that when the details given by authorities seem so clear-cut?

Neal Ward, Kelly Ward, Shirley Dolan, Linda Royal Killed in Truck Accident in Wharton County, TX

Let me give an example. A while back, I handled a serious truck wreck in which a commercial truck reportedly cut off traffic while turning across a highway. As a result, a car hit the side of the truck, killing the driver. As straight-forward as that seemed, the trucking company involved denied responsibility. How? According to them, the victim's headlights weren't on. That sure didn't sound right, but it was our duty to look at the facts. That's when things took a troubling turn.

When going to examine the victim's car in the wreck yard, it shocked us to find the victim's car simply had no headlights--they weren't broken or burned out, but simply not there. I'd never seen anything like that, but our diligence soon showed the shocking truth. It turned out a representative from the defense's insurance company came to the yard with tools and literally stole the victim's headlights--all so they could push some bogus defense. Thanks to our findings, that egregious behavior was called to light. It left the company little choice but to do right by the victim's family.

Now, I'm not saying that happened here or even that a situation like that is common. However, whether egregious or simply standard, trucking companies and insurance companies aren't looking out for the best interests of victims and families. The reason people come to professional truck wreck attorneys is precisely because there are so many barriers put between them and the justice they deserve. That's as true for a complex multi-vehicle pile-up as it is a crash where authorities say a truck turned left across oncoming traffic. It takes extensive effort to gather evidence and to overcome whatever obstacles stand between the victims and the resolution they deserve to see. Are those steps being taken here?

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