Justian Browning Killed in Crash with 18-Wheeler on I-90 near Gillette, WY
Gillette, WY — December 10, 2022, 41-year-old Justian Browning died in a fiery collision with a tractor-trailer on Interstate 90 in Campbell County.
Authorities say the incident happened around 11:00 p.m. on I-90 near mile marker 96.9, around 25 miles west of town. Preliminary investigation suggests Browning was driving an oilfield service pickup truck east in the highway's right-hand lane when for unknown reasons he crashed into the rear of a slow-moving big rig. After the impact the pickup caught fire and became fully engulfed.
Browning was pronounced dead at the scene. No other injuries were reported.
The investigation continues. No further information is available at this time.
Commentary on Justian Browning Accident near Gillette
After reading news reports about this accident, many may think that--while tragic--the victim seems to have triggered it by hitting the slow-moving truck. Further investigation might confirm something to that effect, but it's important to remember that preliminary details rarely have the whole story.
For instance, there's no indication yet of exactly why the pickup hit the big rig. Was the victim awake, alert, and focused on the road, or was he possibly distracted or incapacitated? Did the pickup malfunction or have a defect? Did the slow semi-truck brake or change lanes suddenly ahead of him? Were its lights on? Exactly how fast were both vehicles traveling? Was there any other traffic in the area? What were visibility, weather, and road conditions along that stretch of highway?
To be clear, I read the same reports as everyone else and I don't have special insider perspective on this terrible incident. I just know from long experience that folks tend to draw conclusions based on incomplete stories in the news, but there could be all kinds of other factors not yet discovered. Will police efforts alone be enough to find the whole story for the people who need it?