• November 17, 2023

Charlotte Louise Willett Killed in Semi-Truck Accident on Highway 169 in Hibbing, MN

UPDATE (November 27, 2023): Authorities released the name of the woman killed in the truck accident, whom they identified as 54-year-old Charlotte Louise Willett. Right now, there still don't appear to be specific statements on what caused the crash nor whether or not authorities are considering charges. While it's encouraging to see there was more attention given to this awful event, I can't help reiterating what I said below—there doesn't seem to be much information about a crash that may very well have been the result of negligent driving. Again, though, that would depend on further investigations, and those remain unavailable to the public.

Hibbing, MN — November 16, 2023, one person was killed following a semi-truck accident that happened late Thursday along Highway 169.

Initial details about the crash from the Minnesota State Patrol say that the crash took place at the intersection of Highway 169 and Grace Road.

Charlotte Louise Willett Killed in Semi-Truck Accident in Hibbing, MN

According to troopers, a 54-year-old Hibbing woman was in a Prius said to be going southbound along the highway. At Grace Road, it appears a straight truck going eastbound entered southbound lanes, and the two vehicles collided. Due to this, the Hibbing woman succumbed to her injuries. The truck driver had no confirmed injuries.

Right now, the cause of the crash remains unclear. But from what I can tell based on most recent images of the intersection I can find (from July 2023), traffic on the highway does not have a stop sign while traffic on Grace Road does. That's a pretty serious red flag that the truck driver may have failed to yield leading up to this fatal collision. Is that what happened here? And if so, why isn't this crash getting more attention?

I only bring this up specifically because I've seen examples of authorities not paying much attention to even incredibly serious crashes. For example, I handled a serious truck wreck case a while back involving similar details where a commercial truck turned across a highway, resulting in a fatal crash. There wasn't much information in the public about the crash, and when we were brought on to look into things, all police had done up to that point was issue a citation to the truck driver for failure to yield. We found a lot more serious issues than just someone misjudging the room they had to make a turn.

One thing for instance was that the crash happened at night, yet the trucking company claimed the victim should have been able to see the truck in time to slow down. But when we examined the truck, it immediately stood out that the reflective tape on the trailer was so caked in dirt that it might as well have been invisible at the time of the crash. That's a federal violation, yet authorities completely overlooked it. Had they been more thorough, they likely would have seen a mistake that played a significant role in a serious accident. Instead, it was only thanks to the family wanting a second set of eyes on the crash that brought the issue to light.

To be clear, I'm not claiming that happened here, and I'm also not criticizing the authorities handling this crash. They could be conducting thorough investigations and simply haven't released much info to the public. But a woman lost her life here, and current details make it seem as though the crash might have been the result of truck driver's easily avoidable mistake. Is a couple of sentences on a local news site really enough attention for something that serious?

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