Terry Lynn Ripplinger Killed, Mary Ballard Ripplinger Injured in Truck Accident in Fort Thomas, AZ
Fort Thomas, AZ — March 28, 2023, Terry Ripplinger was killed and Mary Ballard Ripplinger was injured following a semi-truck accident on U.S. Highway 70.
Investigators said that the incident happened at around 6:16 a.m. along U.S. 70 near the Family Dollar off River Road. Authorities said that 68-year-old Terry Ripplinger and 71-year-old Mary Ballard Ripplinger were in a Nissan Altima traveling westbound on the highway. From the eastbound lane, it appears that a semi-truck crashed into another semi that had slowed down. The semi that rear-ended the other then went into oncoming lanes where it crashed with Ripplinger's Nissan.
Due to the collision, Terry Ripplinger sustained fatal injuries. Mary Ballard Ripplinger had serious injuries and was eventually flown to a hospital in Tucson. The driver of the truck that hit the Ripplingers was also injured. Right now, the cause of the crash is unclear, but reports show there was a citation against the second truck driver for failure to yield.
I can't help wondering if there are more possible citations or even criminal charges pending further investigations. Generally speaking, a truck that rear-ends someone on the highway did so because the driver was speeding, following too closely, or was not paying attention to the roadway. It's possible there are extenuating circumstances to consider. For all we know, the front-most truck hit by the second one didn't have working taillights or stopped for avoidable reasons (as opposed to just slowing to make a turn, for example).
But that just goes to show how crucial it is to make sure investigators are being thorough. If anything, the lack of details about charges here could be as much a sign that authorities aren't being thorough as it could be they are taking their time and getting a clear picture of all the facts. Was the driver on their phone? Have they been involved in crashes like this before? Were their brakes and tires in poor condition? Did their employer train them or do proper background checks? Does the driver have co-workers that have also been in accidents like this?
It's not enough to simply slap someone on the wrist or blame someone without getting the whole story. Victims and families deserve to know there will be appropriate consequences for the harm they suffered, and they also deserve to know that issues that could be putting others in danger are addressed properly. It remains to be seen if those steps are being taken here.