Ryan Gooding, Andrew Standifird, 3 Killed in Semi-Truck Accident on I-10 in Chandler, AZ
UPDATE (January 17, 2023): As details surrounding this awful event continue to update, the accounts from some of the victims' loved ones are just heart-breaking. Two of the victims have been identified in the media as 28-year-old Andrew Standifird and Ryan Gooding—both fathers. And why did they and the other victims have to die? Why do their families have to suffer just about the worst pain imaginable? According to authorities, it may have been due to distracted driving. As common as that is and as much as a driver on their phone should face serious consequences for such a selfish, reckless action, the problems leading to this crash may go deeper than just one driver's actions.
Right now, news outlets are say that the semi-truck that crashed into traffic belonged to a large Illinois company, and details suggest that company has had some serious issues following the rules. AZ Family reports, for example, that the company has had 26 wrecks just in Arizona over the last two years. I can't confirm that specific claim, but in my own research into the FMCSA's public database, it appears the company has had four fatal wrecks over that same time frame, and it's also concerning to see they seem to have a vehicle inspection failure rate significantly higher than the national average (which is already way too high).
So what exactly does all of this mean? Police are suggesting a driver from a large, interstate trucking company got five people killed. That company has clearly been on the radar of authorities and federal agencies, but it's unclear what consequences, if any, they've faced leading up to this crash. Clearly, though, whatever consequences they faced weren't enough to stop this crash from happening. Is that because factors beyond their control happened here, or is it because they've decided their way of doing business outweighs the consequences they've faced up to this point?
Perhaps the available data is a poor reflection of what the reality is surrounding this company, but I rarely see concerning details like this coming from responsible, law-abiding trucking companies. Why is the information surrounding this company different? Is it just statistical noise, or is it a culture of reckless business practices, poor training, a lack of oversight, and prioritizing business over the safety of others (not to mention the law)?
I just can't help wondering if more serious consequences against this company for their past mistakes would have brought about the change necessary to prevent this awful accident. There's no way to bring back those who were stolen from their loved ones far too soon. However, the hundreds of families I've helped through similar situations all wanted one thing: accountability. They wanted to know those responsible for their hardships were being held fully responsible for their actions such that they never brought the same hardships upon other unsuspecting families. The question now is if authorities will actually take those steps or if they'll continue kicking the can down the road until more people die.
UPDATE (January 13, 2023): Recent reports now confirm at least five people have died due to the crash. The factors surrounding it remain under investigation, and victim identities are currently unavailable.
Chandler, AZ -- January 12, 2023, three people were killed due to an accident where a semi-truck crashed into traffic on I-10.
Preliminary information says that the crash happened at around 6:00 a.m. in the area of I-10 and Chandler Boulevard.
Officials said that traffic was on the interstate when, according to new outlets, a truck failed to slow down and rear-ended multiple vehicles. Due to the crash, three people were killed. Their identities haven't been released.
The collision was serious enough that wreckage caught fire. A commercial wreck is complex enough without such a chaotic scene. And on top of that, reports are saying this is one of three semi truck wrecks on this particular day. If nothing else, that puts a lot on the authorities' plates. This makes me concerned whether or not this more serious crash is really going to get the attention it deserves.
I can't begin to count how many times victims and families came to me about a serious truck wreck weeks or months after it happened, and the details they got from police barely scratched the surface. Mechanical conditions, potential defects, road conditions, driver history, company training records, medical records, cell phone records, GPS and ECM data--there are all kinds of factors that go into a proper truck wreck investigation. Police officers can be great at their jobs, but if they don't have the time and equipment to do their work, important information is going to slip through the cracks.
That's why I've always taken to this blog to praise the efforts of independent accident reconstructionists who help pick up the slack and get families the answers they truly deserve. That's true with just about any serious crash. A crash like this that took five lives is far from the exception.