Gerald Stephenson, 1 Injured in Truck Accident in New Boston, TX
New Boston, TX — November 29, 2023, Gerald Stephenson and one other person were injured in a truck accident at about 2:50 in the afternoon along U.S. 82.
According to reports, 69-year-old Gerald Stephenson was traveling in a westbound Kia Forte on U.S. Highway 82 approaching the entrance ramp for I-30 West when the accident took place.
For unknown reasons, an 18-wheeler was attempting to make a left turn from the eastbound lane of U.S. 82 onto the on-ramp of I-30 at an unsafe time. The poorly timed maneuver resulted in a collision with the westbound Kia Forte. Stephenson reportedly sustained severe injuries as a result of the accident. The driver of the 18-wheeler also incurred minor injuries. They were taken to local medical facilities by emergency medical services in order to receive appropriate treatment.
The cause of the accident is still under investigation by local authorities. The weather and road conditions in the area were reported to be clear and dry. Additional details pertaining to this incident are not currently available.
When you hear about an 18-wheeler making a turn and ending up in a crash like this, there’s a temptation to think the explanation for what happened it simply that a truck driver turned when he shouldn’t have and a person died because of this mistake. But in my experience working with those who’ve lost a loved one in a crash, the question they really want answered is, “Why did this happen?” That requires digging a little deeper than “one vehicle turned in front of another.”
Certainly, we have to look at why the driver turned when he did. Did a distraction play a role, but we also must consider other factors such as the truck itself. Was everything working okay? Brakes, signals, all that stuff – they've got to be in good repair. If something's off, even a little, it can lead to trouble. Further, just knowing that a driver allegedly turned in front of oncoming traffic tells us nothing about the driver's training. How was he prepared to handle a situation like this? Was he evaluated by his employer before they were given the keys to the truck?
The unfortunate truth is that many commercial vehicle accidents don’t go beyond the crash scene. Why does that matter? Obviously, you can’t find out about a driver’s training at the crash site. Most authorities don’t have the equipment to pull a truck’s ECM data (which shows speed, braking, and other vital information) at the crash site. My attitude is that crash investigations start at the scene, but they never end there. Since the victim’s family doesn’t get to choose how thorough an investigation their loved one receives, a good rule of thumb to evaluate whether everything was looked into that should have been is, “Do we still have unanswered questions about the crash?” If all the family’s concerns are addressed, then that’s a good indication that authorities got it right. If there are still questions, then maybe it’s necessary to have an independent investigation to get the full picture.