• February 24, 2023

Melissa De Leon Killed in 18-wheeler Accident in Hidalgo County, TX

Hidalgo County, TX -- February 24, 2023, Melissa De Leon was killed due to an accident where her vehicle crashed into an 18-wheeler.

Investigators said that the incident happened at around midnight off the corner of FM 2812 and Engelmen Gardens Road outside of Weslaco near Edcouch.

According to initial details, 48-year-old Melissa De Leon was in a vehicle traveling eastbound along FM 2812. Ahead, details suggest a tractor-trailer "had backed into a private drive." Somehow, De Leon's vehicle crashed underneath the trailer.

Due to the collision, De Leon succumbed to fatal injuries. No one else was hurt. Police did not report any potential charges nor additional details about the crash. What little information is available at this time, quite frankly, raises some serious concerns.

While I must be clear up front that I don't have any information beyond what's currently available to the public, I will say how blood-boiling it is to see some of these initial details.

Melissa De Leon Killed in 18-wheeler Accident in Hidalgo County, TX

What stood out to me in particular in the news reports is them saying the tractor-trailer "backed" into a private drive. To me, that almost implies it was done doing so. But considering a vehicle crashed into it, and especially considering images I've seen in the news, it seems pretty damn clear this 18-wheeler was blocking lanes of travel. Maybe the images are misleading, somehow, but I can't help worrying this is yet another example of a truck driver who doesn't appreciate the patience and care it takes to do their job safely. As a result, a family is grieving the loss of a loved one.

If anyone would agree with me there, it would be other responsible truckers. Backing into a driveway is outright dangerous—even when it's legal or necessary. Doing so at midnight on a dark road is almost never advisable. That's why responsible companies at least know to have co-workers on the scene with high-visibility equipment to flag down traffic and to make absolutely certain the obstruction is clearly visible and avoidable. If those precautions were taken here, there certainly isn't indication of that in the news right now.

Without those steps, you get situations like one I handled a while back where a trailer was blocking both lanes of travel, and a driver crashed into the trailer and suffered fatal injuries. That didn't stop the company from trying to blame the victim, of course. They said the victim was going too fast and should have slowed down. It took us recording the vehicle's date to prove to them how ridiculous of a claim that was, and we even proved the trailer's reflective tape was so caked in dirt it would have been all but invisible at the time of the crash. Only after all that did the company start to cooperate (begrudgingly, of course).

There may be extenuating circumstances here that further investigations will reveal to show all of this was just an unavoidable tragedy. But from what I see right now, and thinking of the hundreds of similar situations I've dealt with throughout my career, that just doesn't seem likely. I find it difficult to envision any likely scenario here where someone doesn't deserve to face serious consequences for this woman's death. But at the end of the day, the evidence needs to speak for itself.



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