James Hendricks Killed in Crash with 18-Wheeler on I-44 in Phelps County, MO
Phelps County, MO — November 6, 2022, 50-year-old James Hendricks died in a rear-end crash with a tractor-trailer on Interstate 44 in Phelps County.
Authorities say the incident happened around 3:45 p.m. on eastbound I-44 just outside St. James. Preliminary investigation suggests a Volvo tractor-trailer stopped for heavy traffic in the area when Hendricks, behind the truck in a Saturn Outlook, crashed into the back of it.
Hendricks, allegedly not wearing a seat belt, was pronounced dead at the scene. No other injuries were reported.
The investigation is ongoing. No further information is currently available.
Commentary on James Hendricks Accident in Phelps County
Folks tend to think that the rear driver is to blame for a rear-end crash by default and there's not much else to say. However, that's not really how the law works. The specifics of an individual crash can make all the difference, which is why it's always important to investigate carefully and learn all the facts--even if early reports make things sound straightforward.
Details like both vehicles' speeds, if they were both in good repair, what each driver was doing at the time (Were they awake? Alert? Paying attention to the road?), whether the big rig braked suddenly or gradually as it approached traffic, if its brake lights worked properly, if the road itself was hazardous, weather conditions, and many others may or may not change how the crash is understood.
Reports don't include many of those yet and I'm not saying I know more than they offer--quite the opposite, since I'm asking for information and for all possible factors to get attention. People read about someone rear-ending a truck and think "case closed," but without a full and thorough investigation no one can be sure exactly why that happened. At the very least the victim deserves the benefit of the doubt and his family should know that every effort was made to find the truth. Anything beyond that would depend on what is learned.