• January 12, 2023

Linda St. John Killed in Crash with 18-Wheeler on Highway 100 in Marion, IA

UPDATE (January 17, 2023): The victim of this accident was identified as 72-year-old Linda St. John.

Marion, IA — January 11, 2023, one person was killed when their car collided with a tractor-trailer on State Highway 100 in Marion.

Authorities say the incident happened shortly before 2:15 p.m. at Highway 100 and East Post Road. Preliminary investigation suggests the victim was driving on East Post when they started to turn left onto the eastbound highway. As the car turned it was hit by a westbound 18-wheeler.

The car's driver was fatally injured in the crash. Police allegedly cited the truck driver for failing to obey a traffic device.

The investigation is ongoing. No further information is currently available.

Given the mentioned citation and images showing the intersection is controlled by traffic signals, the strong implication here is that the truck driver ran a light and hit the victim who had the right-of-way. If that's accurate some may feel there's little else to say here before the trucker is held accountable for the terrible crash that took someone's life. However, in the interest of both learning the whole story and proving it there are still many questions to answer. That's why it's important to investigate carefully and learn all the facts; what might that involve?

Investigators might first look into common reasons for running a light--most notably driver mistakes like distraction from a phone or radio, fatigue, or sometimes even impairment. However, they must also account for various possible factors out of the driver's control like vehicle malfunctions, incapacitating medical problems, and poor road or weather conditions. Not only would addressing all the possibilities help find the right explanation, but eliminating the others might be important if the truck driver's employer tried to frame events differently (which many companies do after accidents like this).

Linda St. John Killed in Crash with 18-Wheeler on Highway 100 in Marion, IA

Rounding up all those facts can be a complex process. I'm not a crash investigator, but working with many of them over the years has taught me they'd likely need to look at electronic data from the vehicles, cell phone records, driver health histories, tire markings and debris patterns at the scene, dashcam or traffic camera footage, and just about anything else that might yield objective data they could use to piece together the whole story.

If all that sounds like a whole lot of work, it is—and it's crucial. Someone lost her life here, and if preliminary reports are correct that seems to be no fault of her own. That's more than enough reason to get to the bottom of things for the folks who need and deserve the truth. I just hope authorities' efforts will get them satisfying answers.

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