• December 20, 2022

Teen Killed in Crash with Semi-Truck on Highway 81 near Fairmont, NE

Fairmont, NE — December 18, 2022, a 16-year-old McCool Junction High School student died in a crash with a semi-truck on Highway 81 near Fairmont.

Authorities say the incident happened around 9:40 a.m. in the area of Highway 81 and County Road E, north of town. Preliminary investigation suggests the teen turned onto the highway from CR E but his vehicle was hit on its driver's side by an oncoming semi-truck. The truck then pushed the car off the road and into a nearby field.

The teen driver was pronounced dead at the scene. No other injuries were reported.

The investigation continues. No further information is available at this time.

Commentary on Truck Accident on Hwy 81 near Fairmont

I just want to be clear up front that I can't say more about what did or didn't happen here without seeing further independent investigations. But when I read these details, I can't help wondering if authorities are really getting this young man's loved ones the answers they deserve. They appear to believe he turned into the path of the oncoming big rig, but I don't see much mention of all the other potential variables that could have affected what followed. How fast was the truck traveling? Was its driver paying awake, alert, and focused on the road? Is signage present and clear at the intersection? Did anything block the victim's view of cross-traffic/

Jordan Tol Killed in Crash with Semi-Truck on Highway 81 near Fairmont, NE

This is one of the reasons thorough independent investigations are so important. I've seen situations like this where authorities were simply withholding details until they knew more. Other times it turned out they jumped to conclusions, missed important details, or even let their opinions be swayed by trucking company representatives that arrived on scene to assert their side of the story. Could anything like that be tipping the scales here?

If for no other reason than to ensure the victim's loved ones get clear answers about what led to such a terrible tragedy, there should be more thorough independent investigations here. They deserve no less than the whole story; anything else would depend on what that story is.

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