Robert Rooke Killed in Woodsboro, TX, 18-wheeler Accident
Woodsboro, TX -- January 21, 2017, Robert Rooke sustained fatal injuries after an accident in which his vehicle was hit by an 18-wheeler.
The accident was investigated by the Texas Department of Public Safety at around 6:15 p.m. They say it took place along US 77 just outside town.
According to their preliminary investigations, 91-year-old Rooke was attempting to enter highway lanes from a side street. As he turned onto the highway, his vehicle crossed paths with a southbound tractor-trailer. The 18-wheeler didn't avoid the accident in time and struck the passenger side of Rooke's vehicle.
Rooke suffered fatal injuries as a result, and he was pronounced deceased at the scene. The driver of the 18-wheeler was not injured in the crash.
At this time, authorities have not indicated any particular factors involved with the accident. Their investigations are ongoing.
Map of the Area
Looking at an accident like this, it's certainly possible that Mr. Rooke simply entered the 18-wheeler's path, considering drivers on the highway would indeed of the right of way in this situation. However, it still needs to be confirmed that the 18-wheeler driver did everything in his power to try and avoid the accident.
A lot of times, these accidents happen to where the truck driver simply doesn't have enough time to react, considering semis aren't the easiest vehicles to stop. That being said, I've seen plenty of accidents where 18-wheelers could have avoided an accident had they been driving properly. Primary concerns in these kinds of accidents tend to be visibility, the speed of the vehicles, and the actions taken by the drivers leading up to the crash.
With visibility, there have been accidents where a vehicle enters the path of an 18-wheeler and causes an accident. Investigations revealed, however, that the 18-wheeler didn't have their headlights on. You can't expect a driver to have good enough vision to spot a truck with not lights at nighttime.
With the speed of the vehicles, there have been accidents in the past where a driver either slowed down in front of or entered the path of an 18-wheeler that could not stop in time. It turned out the truck was going well over the speed limit at the time. A truck is hard enough to stop--they can legally weigh up to 80,000 pounds with cargo--without a driver going over the speed limit. A speeding truck creates a deadly hazard for everyone on the roads and needs to be addressed when applicable.
The third point, the actions of the drivers, concerns whether or not any evasive action was attempted if possible. Like I said, sometimes a truck driver just doesn't have enough time to avoid the collision. Other times, they might have had plenty of warning yet never touched their brakes or attempted to swerve out of the way. I've seen it happen a lot of times where two negligent drivers both contributed to an accident by not paying attention to the roadway. All drivers owe a duty to take evasive actions when they can. If they don't do this, then they need to be held accountable.
With this particular accident, I simply don't have enough information to say one way or another who is actually at fault for the accident. I tend not to look at preliminary reports as accurate accounts of the story because they usually miss crucial details or make mistakes. All of the factors I mentioned above are factors that often only come up after a thorough independent investigations (i.e. outside of a police report). Once a private investigation is done, only then can anyone rest assured that all possible factors have been extensively considered.
--Grossman Law Offices