• March 17, 2023

Justin Poole, Machaela Buckholdt, Child Killed, Nicole Poole Injured in Truck Accident in Kittitas County, WA

UPDATE (March 21, 2023): Recent reports identified victims killed in the crash. They said that 27-year-old Machaela Buckholdt, 40-year-old Justin Poole, and Poole's 10-year-old child were killed. Inured in the crash were 36-year-old Nicole Poole and a 6-year-old child. Their current conditions are unclear.

Details about why the truck (now said to be a UPS truck) swerved into oncoming lanes are still under investigation. I can only hope authorities have been hard at work behind the scenes getting answers for the families involved here. Any deadly truck wreck is worth taking seriously, but as I mentioned below, there may be a lot more to this situation than initial investigations could possibly address.

Easton, WA -- March 16, 2023, two adults and a child were killed, others were injured, due to an accident involving a semi-truck.

Authorities were called to the scene near Cabin Creek, east of Snoqualmie pass and Seattle, at around 1:45 a.m. It appears that a semi-truck was going westbound along the interstate when it somehow careened across the median. The truck then crashed into an eastbound vehicle.

As a result of the crash, two adults and a child were killed. At least two others had unspecified injuries. Right now, the exact cause of the crash remains unclear.

It's just horrible to read about such a devastating accident like this. It's not clear exactly what relation the different victims may have had to each other, but there could be several families out there torn apart by what happened here. As cautious as I am to avoid jumping to conclusions about the cause of a serious crash, it's tough to shake the infuriating thought that someone's avoidable mistake led to this deadly incident.

Justin Poole, Machaela Buckholdt, Child Killed, Nicole Poole Injured in Truck Accident in Kittitas County, WA

It goes without saying that something has to go horribly wrong for a truck to careen across a whole median. For all we know, it may have been an unavoidable accident, such as a sudden mechanical failure, a tire blowout, or a medical emergency. Maybe it was something as simple as distracted driving or speeding, or perhaps the early morning hours means this was the result of fatigued driving.

One way or another, I learned a long time ago that a deadly commercial truck wreck can happen for all kinds of complex reasons, and it's important to ensure authorities are giving those possibilities proper attention. Not only could this incident involve incredibly challenging, unusual factors, it could even involve outside parties who need to face consequences.

Let me give an example. A while back, we looked into a case involving a truck driver that had been driving for over 20 hours straight, and they fell asleep, leading to a serious crash. Pretty open-and-shut, right? Well, it's always important to be thorough, so the investigations continued. What we found was pretty shocking.

It turned out that trucker's employer routinely coerced drivers into making reckless decisions. They had ludicrous deadlines to meet, and if they didn't cut corners to meet those expectations, they risked losing their jobs. This involved things like speeding, overloading cargo, skipping on vital maintenance, and driving beyond hours of service limits. Some could leave to find a more responsible employer, but not everyone gets that luxury. As a result, it was simply a matter of time before a driver trying to put food on their family's table made a mistake and got someone hurt or killed.

So why do I bring this up here? It's not to suggest that's what led to this crash, though who knows what investigations could reveal. My point is that it wasn't a single reckless individual that caused that crash. It involved an environment fostered by multiple people in charge of a company that inevitably and predictably led to reckless decisions, and it would no doubt continue to put lives at risk unless steps were taken to correct that behavior.

That's why it's so important to know the whole story here. Just about every family I've worked with over 30 years has wanted the same thing: accountability. Not only does that mean taking responsibility for the devastation victims and families face, not only does that mean facing appropriate consequences under the appropriate laws, but it also means helping to ensure other families don't have to suffer for the same reasons the families here did. I can only hope authorities here not only understand that but also are dedicating the time, effort, and equipment it takes to handle something this delicate and complex.


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