• January 11, 2017

Laura and Donald Blevins Killed in Vidor, TX, 18-wheeler Accident

Vidor, TX -- January 10, 2017, Laura and Donald Blevins were killed following an accident in which an 18-wheeler hit their pickup head-on.

The Texas Department of Public Safety released accident reports concerning the fatal crash, saying it occurred at around 12:15 p.m. near the intersection of I-10 and Mockingbird Drive (Mile Marker 858).

According to their reports, a Kenworth 18-wheeler hauling construction equipment was traveling behind an Isuzu flatbed truck in the westbound lanes of I-10. The Isuzu reportedly slowed down due to traffic, but the Kenworth did not slow down in time.

The 18-wheeler crashed into the back of the Isuzu before swerving off the left side of the highway, through the concrete barrier, and into eastbound traffic lanes. As a result, the 18-wheeler crashed head-on into a pickup driven by 68-year-old Laura.

Due to the severity of the collision, Laura and her passenger, 61-year-old Donald, were killed in the crash. The driver of the Isuzu, John Duffy, had reportedly minor injuries and did not go to a hospital. The driver of the 18-wheeler, whose identity was not released, was taken to a nearby hospital with serious injuries.

At this time, authorities have not reported any charges or citations. It's unclear exactly what factors contributed to the accident.

Investigations are ongoing.

Map of the Area


This is truly a tragic accident, and by the looks of it there's not much the driver of the pickup could do to avoid the 18-wheeler in time. No one expects an 18-wheeler to come barreling through a concrete barrier into your lane at highway speeds. While reports seem to be clear on most of the facts surrounding the accident, I would not be surprised at all to hear the trucking company pointing the finger at whomever they can to avoid liability. The driver of the Isuzu, the driver of the pickup, the concrete barrier itself--whatever can help them avoid liability, they'll use to their advantage.

But let's keep things simple and just look at some of the facts about this case. An 18-wheeler hauling construction equipment ran into the back of an Isuzu flatbed, slammed through a concrete barrier, and killed two people in a pickup. This means one of two things: either the truck driver was hauling some serious weight or they were driving way too fast.

Everyone knows that 18-wheelers are incredibly tough to stop. They can legally weigh up to 80,000 pounds. At highway speeds, that means you're looking at several hundred feet for a commercial truck to come to a stop. Like any other driver, the law holds truck drivers accountable for maintaining the proper speed and following distance necessary for their driving conditions. I think it's safe to say this particular 18-wheeler violated this in some way or another.

The fact that the 18-wheeler ran into the back of the Isuzu at all likely means it was following too closely or driving too fast. It's all important to note that the 18-wheeler pushed the Isuzu out of the way--an Isuzu can weigh anywhere from 10,000 to 30,000 pounds depending on its cargo. Now consider that after hitting a truck that weighs several tons, the 18-wheeler still had enough momentum to slam through a concrete barrier. A concrete barrier doesn't stand much of a chance against an 18-wheeler at full speed, but one that's just slammed into the back of a truck? That would only solidify the argument that the truck driver was doing something improper.

Looking at these facts, we can see that the 18-wheeler must have had a serious amount of momentum when the initial collision occurred. How fast does a truck have to be going in order to rear-end a sizeable truck in its own right, push that truck out of the way, then slam through a barrier, and hit a couple head-on hardly seems responsible to me.

With many laws, we don't often get to see clearly why the law exists in the first place. This can degrade respect for the law and for people to abide by it. An example as egregious as this of a driver failing to maintain proper speed and following distance hammers home the point that the rules of the road aren't for others, or to be obeyed sometimes. They're there because people navigating multi-ton hunks of steel at high speeds is an inherently dangerous exercise. We mitigate this danger through laws and rules of the road, because when people do whatever they please, tragedy results. It's for this reason that these negligent truck drivers need to answer for their reckless actions. At the end of the day, two people lost their lives, and someone needs to be held accountable.

--Grossman Law Offices


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