• November 07, 2022

Renee Woehl Killed, John Woehl Injured in Crash on Hwy 281 in Lamoure County, ND

Lamoure County, ND — November 6, 2022, 64-year-old Renee Woehl died when a pickup truck and a tanker semi collided on Highway 281 in Lamoure County.

Authorities say the incident happened around 9:00 a.m. on Highway 281 near Edgeley. Preliminary investigation suggests Woehl was a passenger in a northbound pickup truck on Highway 281 when high winds caused the truck's trailer to overturn and detach. As the trailer pulled loose it sent the pickup into the southbound lane, where it collided with a tanker truck. After the impact the pickup overturned.

Renee Woehl and the pickup's driver, 69-year-old John Woehl, were transported to an area hospital. Renee Woehl died a short time later, and at last report John Woehl had serious injuries. The tanker driver was unhurt.

The investigation is ongoing. No further information is currently available.

Commentary on Renee and John Woehl Accident in Lamoure County

If preliminary reports have their facts straight, some may see this as mostly a tragic but largely unpredictable (and thus unavoidable) accident. If winds suddenly picked up to speeds great enough to yank a trailer right off the pickup, what could anyone have done?

Further investigation might come to a similar conclusion, but right now it's a little premature to just blame everything on Mother Nature. Natural hazards like storms and strong winds certainly cause their share of mayhem, but at the same time I can't help but wonder about the design of a trailer that gets lifted and hurled around in it as this one did. Could or should it have been designed or built differently to give it more wind resistance and help it stay grounded? And what about the collision with the tanker? If winds were strong enough to cause this kind of trouble, was it still traveling full-speed down the road? Would a reasonably prudent professional driver have slowed down in response to hazardous conditions?

Renee Woehl Killed, John Woehl Injured in Lamoure County, ND Auto Accident

I know how all that may come across, but I don't write about these accidents to overcomplicate them or to insist on finding a "bad guy." I just know from long experience that these incidents too often get overlooked or written off after being blamed on weather. When we take another look, however, we often find there's more to the story. Would that be the situation in North Dakota?

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