Justin Hedges Killed in Crash with Dump Truck on US-50 in Athens, OH
Athens, OH — December 8, 2022, 39-year-old Justin Hedges died when his vehicle collided with a dump truck on U.S. Route 50 in Athens County.
Authorities say the incident happened around 9:00 a.m. along Route 50 near River Road in Athens. Preliminary investigation suggests only that Hedges was driving west on the highway when he crashed into the back of an ODOT dump truck that was parked on the side of the road for unknown reasons. After the impact Hedges' vehicle caught fire.
Hedges was fatally injured in the collision. The dump truck driver was taken to an area hospital for treatment of minor injuries.
The investigation is ongoing. No further information is available at this time.
Commentary on Justin Hedges Accident in Athens
Someone hitting the back of a truck is usually a sign they did something wrong, especially when the truck is on the shoulder. If it's true that happened here, perhaps the victim simply made a mistake and tragedy followed. However, simply assuming that would be irresponsible and unfair to a man who can't tell his side of the story. Despite some common misconceptions about rear-end crashes, the striking drivers aren't always at fault for them.
For example, one factor folks rarely consider is the responsibilities truck drivers have when stopping on or by the highway. Was the dump truck fully over the fog line and on the shoulder? Was the truck clearly visible and properly marked? Did the driver have a good reason to stop? Could or should they have found somewhere else to pull off the road that would create less of a potential hazard?
Answering those and other questions might show that proper precautions would have prevented the crash, though they could also show the dump truck driver did everything right. I just think most would agree that a man losing his life is more than enough cause to consider all the possible variables.
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