William Hollingsworth Killed Truck Accident in Benton County, AR
Benton County, AR — November 11, 2023, William Hollingsworth was killed as the result of a semi-truck accident at around 4:30 a.m. along U.S. Highway 412.
Preliminary details released in an Arkansas Department of Public Safety crash summary says the collision happened on eastbound lanes of U.S. 412 near the School House Road intersection, which appears to be between Siloam Springs and Springdale.
The crash summary states that 44-year-old William Hollingsworth, of Oklahoma, was in a vehicle traveling eastbound on the highway. Up ahead, police say that a Freightliner was "getting up to speed" as it merged into traffic lanes from the shoulder. As authorities describe the incident, Hollingsworth "failed to slow in time," and a rear-end collision occurred with the Freightliner. Hollingsworth died due to the accident.
Beyond this, authorities haven't released much information. I wouldn't consider this enough evidence to take at face value that the victim "failed to slow," and that's what led to the fatal collision. Of course, I also wouldn't rule that out without clear evidence. There's no shortage of examples of people distracted or driving at unsafe speeds who fail to avoid otherwise avoidable rear-end collisions. My concern here is that the wording used by authorities here is rather charged. It's important to clarify if they have evidence to support these claims or if they are perhaps being hasty in their description of what went wrong here.
I know from experience that a lot of people see a rear-end collision and just assume the rear driver is automatically at fault. But that would suggest people can be as reckless as they want, and so long as someone hits them from behind, they're in the clear. That would be ridiculous, and the law is reasonable enough to understand context matters. Considering this crash barely happened 24 hours ago, the chance we're seeing the entire context is practically zero. Therefore, there could be a lot more to the story that would change how people looked at these events.
For example, I recall a while back reading about an early-morning crash over in Utah that killed a father and son and seriously injured a young girl. The initial reports simply said they were going down the highway when they crashed into the back of an 18-wheeler. No doubt plenty of people shook their heads and assumed the victim had been speeding or on his phone. As investigations continued, though, it was reported that the 18-wheeler had just pulled off the shoulder, was going less than 10 MPH, and didn't have its trailer lights on. In what reasonable world would someone look at those details and immediately blame the driver who just happened to be unlucky enough to be the one behind that truck?
Just to be clear, I'm not saying anything like that happened here. The example is one that's always stuck with me to help explain to folks why they should never jump to conclusions following a deadly accident. It remains to be seen if these preliminary details from authorities are based on evidence they have yet to release publicly, a simple case of poor wording, or another example of someone jumping to conclusions.