• October 26, 2022

Teresa Cumley Injured in Crash with 18-Wheeler on KS-96 in Union

Union, KS — October 25, 2022, 53-year-old Teresa Cumley was injured in a collision with a semi-truck on State Highway 96 in Union.

Authorities say the incident happened shortly before 7:30 a.m. along KS-96 at 167th Street West. Preliminary investigation suggests Cumley was driving a GMC Yukon north on 167th when she pulled into the center turn area of the highway. Investigators believe while turning she failed to yield to a westbound Peterbilt semi-truck and struck the second axle of its trailer.

Cumley received suspected serious injuries in the crash and was taken to an area hospital. The truck driver was reportedly unhurt.

The investigation continues. No further information is currently available.

Commentary on Teresa Cumley Accident on KS-96 in Union

Preliminary reports say the victim failed to yield while turning, but the years have taught me to take early assessments with a grain of salt until someone looks closer. What if other factors beyond a simple failure to yield--things harder to detect during a standard once-over at the scene--were involved?

Here's an example: I worked on a case recently where police said a driver turned in front of an 18-wheeler seemingly without cause. Her family, understandably frustrated at that "who knows" conclusion, asked us to look again.

Our experts found important details police didn't account for: There was a dense fog in the area at the time, the truck was traveling much too fast for conditions, and the truck's headlights may have been malfunctioning. Put together those were a recipe for severely reduced visibility and a serious accident, and yet somehow none of them were mentioned before we had another look.

Teresa Cumley Injured in Union, KS Crash with 18-Wheeler on SH 96

I'm not saying bad weather or a dicey truck are responsible for the crash in Kansas, and I'm certainly not implying that the truck driver did anything wrong. I read the same reports as everyone else and they say nothing of the sort. It's just important to consider all the potential factors instead of quickly reaching a simplistic conclusion and closing the book. Could further investigation still show this wreck boils down to a poorly-timed turn? Maybe, but it could also find other details that change how the crash is perceived.

Unfortunately, police may not be inclined to take a second look if they found an explanation they liked. That means if there are any questions about the "official" findings (which happens quite often), then the victim would likely be better served by independent investigators taking a second look.

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