UPDATE: Thomas Heinrich Killed in San Antonio, TX, 18-wheeler Accident on I-37
San Antonio, TX -- January 12, 2017, Thomas Heinrich was killed due to an accident in which an SUV stalled on I-37 and was rear-ended by an 18-wheeler.
San Antonio Police are continuing to investigate the fatal crash. Reports say it took place along I-37 south of downtown at around 6:00 p.m.
Initial police investigations have stated that 73-year-old Heinrich was driving an SUV in the right lane of the interstate when it suddenly experienced some sort of mechanical failure. As a result, it became disabled in the middle of the road. An 18-wheeler traveling behind the SUV could not stop in time, and the truck slammed into the back of the SUV.
Heinrich did not survive the collision and was pronounced dead at the scene. Reports say the truck driver was injured, but the injuries were not specified.
Authorities have not yet determined the cause of the stall, and they say the truck driver will probably not face any charges.
No further investigation has been released at this time.
Map of the Area
This is a very complex accident, and our firm has seen a lot of different variations of similar accidents. A lot of people share the misconception that when a driver rear-ends another vehicle, then they're automatically at fault. The truth is that determining fault requires a close examination of the full context surrounding the accident.
This particular accident seems to revolve around the fact that the SUV somehow stalled out on the highway. I've seen plenty of accidents where the stalled out vehicle had emergency lights, visibility was fine, and another vehicle rear-ended it despite having plenty of time to avoid them. I've also seen plenty of accidents where the breakdown was very sudden and left drivers behind the vehicle with no time to react before crashing into it. Sometimes, these accidents are just plain unavoidable. Engines breakdown from time to time, and we can't expect everyone to have lightning fast reflexes.
That being said, Texas law requires drivers to operate their vehicles in a way that allows them enough control to react in a situation like this. If a driver who rear-ended a vehicle had plenty of time to react but didn't, then they need to be held accountable for their actions. When people aren't paying attention to the road, they're putting other drivers at risk.
In the end, this accident still has a lot of missing pieces. It will require a thorough investigation by a 3rd party investigator to determine the main cause for this tragic accident.
--Grossman Law Offices