• January 03, 2023

Toby Hasten Killed, Clayton Sanderson, 1 Injured in Car Accident in Wichita Falls, TX

UPDATE (January 18, 2023): Authorities identified one of the men hurt in the crash as Clayton Sanderson, who was said to have serious injuries. Right now, details about the crash are still pending confirmation.

Wichita Falls, TX -- December 23, 2022, Toby Hasten was fatally injured and two others were hurt following a single-vehicle car accident.

The initial details concerning the crash said it happened at around 12:50 a.m. on December 23 at the Iowa Park Road and Sheppard Access Road intersection. 25-year-old Toby Hasten was identified as one of three occupants in a vehicle traveling through the intersection. For reasons unconfirmed, the vehicle ran off-road where it crashed, ejecting Hasten and one of the other victims.

All three victims were taken to the hospital where statements say Hasten succumbed to his injuries on December 27. The current conditions of the other victims is unavailable at this time.

What stands out in news reports I've seen is authorities saying they believe alcohol may have been a factor here. To be blunt, there needs to be a better understanding of why they say that. Is it because they have clear evidence of potential intoxication, or is it just because it's a common factor in early-morning single-vehicle wrecks?

Toby Hasten Killed, Clayton Sanderson, 1 Injured in Car Accident in Wichita Falls, TX

There are a couple of main reasons I find this lack of clarity concerning. One is because when authorities have what they may think is an obvious explanation, they can become hyper-focused. Is alcohol possible here? Certainly. But would it be the first if more thorough investigations showed there were completely different unique factors the driver couldn't avoid? Not at all.

The other point of concern is that even if alcohol was a factor here, simply pinning everything on that isn't likely to tell the whole story. Something more experienced investigators often catch that police miss is that alcohol providers in Texas contribute to these kinds of accidents by illegally over-serving their customers. Shouldn't they face the appropriate consequences if their illegal actions get someone killed?

With that said, likely or not, even things like mechanical issues, road hazards, tire defects, and other such factors are worth attention. As I said, a man lost his life here, and others were sent to the hospital and may still be recovering. Isn't that worth the effort to ensure they and their loved ones are getting the answers they deserve and not just whatever explanation seems easiest?

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