• December 14, 2022

Clifford Roberts Killed in Truck Accident on FM 51 in Cooke County, TX

Cooke County, TX — November 21, 2022, 42-year-old Clifford Roberts died in a crash with a commercial vehicle on Farm to Market Road 51 in Cooke County.

Authorities say the incident happened around 5:00 a.m. on FM 51 near mile marker 224. Preliminary investigation suggests a Ford F-650 company truck was traveling north on the roadway as Roberts drove a Lexus sedan south in the opposite lane. Investigators allege the truck driver entered a curve at too high a speed for the wet roadway and lost control. The truck hydroplaned and skidded through the southbound lanes, where it crashed into the oncoming Lexus.

Roberts was fatally injured in the crash. No other injuries were reported.

No further information is available at this time.

Commentary on Clifford Roberts Accident in Cooke County

Police said the roads were wet and the truck hydroplaned. I've done this more than long enough to know that bad weather and road conditions make good scapegoats for a commercial driver's employer to say their driver had no control over a situation: "If the road was wet and the truck skidded out, what could he do?" As it happens, probably quite a bit.

As often as bad weather is blamed for accidents, it's generally not the real culprit. What people do in those conditions is what matters, and professional truck drivers get specific and intensive training in how to deal with them--or at least they're supposed to. I've seen more than a few cases where anyone who can fog a mirror is hired by company recruiters, then rushed through weeks of training in just a day or two so the company can put another truck on the road. Inexperienced or poorly-trained drivers don't know what to do in a situation like the one in Cooke County and things quickly go from bad to worse.

Clifford Roberts Killed in Truck Accident on FM 51 in Cooke County, TX

In fairness, I don't have all the facts about this incident. Maybe something unusual sent that Ford off-course and there was nothing anyone could have done. I just think it's important not to rubber-stamp "weather" onto reports and move on when a man lost his life. Everyone responsible for that irreversible damage should be held properly accountable.

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