Oran Starkey III Killed in Single-Vehicle Accident near Wellington, TX
Wellington, TX -- January 7, 2023, Oran Starkey III was killed following an accident where Starkey's vehicle crashed off-road.
Details say that the crash happened about 4 miles south of Wellington in Collinsworth County, which is east of Amarillo. 52-year-old Oran Starkey III was said to be the driver of a Chevy Silverado that crashed along US Highway 83 at around 12:15 a.m. Starkey sustained fatal injuries as a result.
People are quick to jump to conclusions with single-vehicle wrecks due to how common things like speeding, distraction, and alcohol are. I can't help wondering if authorities here are making that same hasty decision. While nothing has been officially confirmed, some details indicate that authorities think this crash was caused by speeding and not using a seatbelt. I have no reason to doubt these conclusions, but this wreck just happened, and authorities seem to have it all figured out. I hope they are basing their claims on thorough investigations, but in my experience, the first evidence is rarely the best evidence.
For instance, I’ve made use of the services of independent accident reconstructionists countless times over the years, and it’s well known in the crash reconstruction community that if a person isn’t fully restrained when officers get to a crash scene, 999 times out of 1000 the officer will put in their report that the victim was not wearing a seatbelt. Many times they’re correct, but the problem is that this kind of thinking rules out the fact that seatbelts don’t always work like they should.
Sometimes the pretensioner fails (particularly in rollover crashes). Other times a wreck can be so violent that the seatbelt anchor breaks free from the vehicle’s frame. Whether or not that happened here isn't for me to say, of course. My point is that every crash is unique. Crash investigation mistakes are usually the result of investigators trying to fit general impressions to individual circumstances, causing them to overlook crucial bits of information.
To be crystal clear, I don’t know any more about this wreck than the general public. Hopefully, the answers they provide to this man’s family explain what actually happened to the family’s satisfaction, because at the end of the day, that’s what’s most important.