• November 17, 2022

Kelley Rodriguez Killed in Tanker Truck Accident on I-29 in Brookings, SD

UPDATE (November 22, 2022): Recent reports identify the woman killed in the crash as 40-year-old Kelley Rodriguez. Additional details about the crash are unavailable.

Brookings, SD -- November 16, 2022, a driver was killed following an accident where a tanker truck crashed into their vehicle on I-29.

Investigators were called to the area south of Brookings early Wednesday. They say that a 40-year-old woman was in a Chevy Equinox that was "stationary in the driving lane." While there, a tanker truck crashed into the car, killing the woman in the Chevy. The truck driver had non-life-threatening injuries, reports say. No further information is available.

Commentary on Kelley Rodriguez Tanker Truck Accident in Brookings

The key detail in crashes like this usually comes down to why the victim's vehicle was stationary and how visible the victim's vehicle was. It's one thing for a truck to hit someone in a line of traffic, and it's another thing entirely to hit a disabled vehicle on a dark highway. What exactly happened here, and are steps being taken to look for evidence that can better shed light on the facts?

Kelley Rodriguez Killed in Tanker Truck Accident on I-29 in Brookings, SD

I recall a situation I handled not long ago with similar initial details. The story was that the victim was in an unlit disabled vehicle, and the truck driver simply couldn't avoid the collision. That was a reasonable explanation, but our thorough investigations dug up video footage from the truck in question which told a far more disturbing series of events.

The video showed the victim's car with its lights and flashers on well ahead of the truck. The driver, however, made no effort to move over or slow down. Why? Because he was too busy watching TV shows on his tablet. He looked up at the last second, but it was too late.

To be clear, I don't say that to suggest anything similar happened. My point is that it often takes more thorough independent investigators to make sure the facts are clear. Whether or not anyone did anything wrong here isn't the point. It's about ensuring a grieving family knows they're getting the answers they deserve.

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