Amanda McKinnon, Minor Killed, Christopher Ward Hurt in Van Buren Co., AR, Accident
Van Buren County, AR -- January 6, 2017, Amanda McKinnon and a minor were killed, Christopher Ward was injured, due to an accident with an 18-wheeler.
The Arkansas State Police investigated the fatal incident, which occurred just after 8:00 a.m. near the intersection of US Highway 65 and Bee Branch Road.
Preliminary reports indicate that 40-year-old McKinnon was driving a Dodge northbound on US 65. 19-year-old Ward and an unidentified minor were passengers. Most likely due to snowy conditions, the Dodge lost control and swerved across several traffic lanes.
The Dodge eventually came to a stop in southbound traffic lanes, putting it into the path of an oncoming 18-wheeler. The 18-wheeler struck the Dodge on its passenger side.
Following the collision, both McKinnon and the minor sustained fatal injuries and died as a result. Ward was transported to Ozark Health Medical Center with unspecified injuries.
Authorities have not said whether or not any factors besides weather contributed to the accident. Their investigations are ongoing.
Map of the Area
Snowy conditions often result in many accidents, a lot of which end up being very serious or even fatal. When determining liability in an accident like this, it's important that snow or ice does not distract people from looking at all of the details surrounding the accident.
Our firm has seen several accidents like this one over the years, and determining who was liable for the accident usually came down to how much time there was between the first vehicle losing control and the 18-wheeler hitting it. The reason is because even if another vehicle enters the path of an 18-wheeler--whatever the cause--the truck driver still has a responsibility to avoid the accident if at all possible.
Sometimes, upon closer investigations, the truck driver only had a few seconds between the car entering the truck's path and the truck hitting it. A crash in this situation is usually unavoidable, considering evasive maneuvers in commercial trucks are incredibly difficult. However, some accidents presented situations where a vehicle came to a stop in the path of an 18-wheeler, but a decent amount of time passed before the 18-wheeler hit the vehicle. In situations such as those, it can be reasoned that a fully attentive, unimpaired driver could have avoided a crash. Sometimes the driver was speeding, looking at their phone, or even intoxicated at the time. Regardless, had it not been for their negligence, they could have evaded the incident altogether.
Whether or not this is the case in any particular accident requires thorough investigations that consider all possible factors. It's too easy for people to say that weather conditions caused the accident, and there was nothing anyone could do to avoid it. Many factors are possible in each accident, it people must ensure that everyone involved did everything they could to avoid a collision. If it turns out that the truck driver was indeed behaving negligently, then they need to be held accountable for their actions.
--Grossman Law Offices