• December 20, 2022

Kathleen Bunyer Killed in Auto Accident on I-74 in Indianapolis, IN

Indianapolis, IN — December 19, 2022, 63-year-old Kathleen Bunyer died in a collision with a tractor-trailer on Interstate 74 in Indianapolis.

Authorities say the incident happened around 2:30 p.m. on westbound I-74 near Acton Road. Prleiminary investigation suggests only that a Ford Explorer driven by Bruce Bunyer was westbound on the highway when it collided with the rear of a stopped 18-wheeler, which police believe may have been partially in the Ford's lane after a prior crash with a dump truck. After the impact the Ford overturned and rolled multiple times.

Passenger Kathleen Bunyer was fatally injured in the crash. Bruce Bunyer and an infant in the Expedition were transported to area hospitals for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries. No other injuries were reported.

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

Kathleen Bunyer Killed in Auto Accident on I-74 in Indianapolis, IN

Commentary on Kathleen Bunyer Accident in Indianapolis

Preliminary reports rarely have all the answers about what happened in a crash and why, but if they have their facts straight it seems like the victims may have hit part of a big rig that was blocking their lane. If that's the case there may be more to investigate here than is obvious at first. How much of the truck was in the travel lane? Could or should the driver have moved the rig more fully onto the shoulder? Was the truck disabled from the collision with the dump truck? If so, did its driver activate the truck's hazards or put out cones or reflectors behind the trailer?

I'm not implying the whole thing was the trucker's fault here, but commercial drivers are held to a high standard of care in situations where their 40-ton big rigs create obstacles for other drivers. If something could or should have been done differently in Indianapolis, and that failure to act was part of the reason a woman lost her life, then some accountability seems justified. The truck driver and their employer aren't likely to agree, however, which is why it's important to investigate carefully and get just the facts to tell the story.

I've cautioned many people not to think of the crash that hurt them or their loved ones as "open and shut" no matter how the news or police portray it. Trucking companies and their insurers have many tricks and tactics to help them minimize or even completely avoid blame, so I wrote more about what victims and families might expect to encounter--as well as ways to overcome those hurdles.

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