Aaron Barks Killed, Barry Mize Injured in Clay County, AR, Accident
Clay County, AR -- May 3, 2017, Aaron Barks was killed and Barry Mize was injured following an accident where their 18-wheelers collided.
The Arkansas State Police released preliminary details surrounding the fatal incident. They say it took place at around 5:54 p.m. near the intersection of Highway 90 and Highway 135.
According to the report, 36-year-old Barks was driving an 18-wheeler along eastbound Highway 90 as 49-year-old Mize was driving another 18-wheeler southbound along Highway 135. At the intersection, police claim that Barks ran a stop sign and entered the path of Mize's 18-wheeler. This resulted in a collision, causing the vehicles to catch on fire and Mize's 18-wheeler to run off the roadway.
Mize was able to be transported to AAMC for treatment of unspecified injuries, but Barks was pronounced dead at the scene.
Police have not indicated any particular factors contributing to the accident. No further information is available.
Map of the Area
If my experience with truck accidents over the years has taught me anything, it's taught me that a preliminary police report is far from the end-all-be-all of what happened in the accident. Plenty of police investigators do a fine job with their work and ensure their efforts are thorough, but the reality is that most officers simply do not have the time, the obligation, nor the resources to do a proper investigation, especially with accidents as complex as commercial truck accidents.
An accident like this one isn't just some SUV turning in front of a motorcycle or a sedan rear-ending a pickup. This is two commercial vehicles--some of the most complex of modern machines--crashing at high speeds. It should go without saying that the evidence in an accident like this is going to be very difficult to examine thoroughly unless it's handled by an experienced professional. To put it bluntly, police are not those professionals.
A police investigation's primary obligation is to determine whether or not any crimes were committed. Beyond that, they tend to establish a basic fact pattern and control the accident scene to the best of their ability. Beyond that, they don't really have any obligation to look further into the accident. And even if they did, most police departments just don't have the resources necessary for conducting a thorough investigation into the wreckage of commercial trucks.
However, an independent professional not only has those resources, but their sole obligation is to inspect accidents like this. A private investigator with extensive experience in the industry will know any and all factors surrounding an accident, and they'll ensure that their work covers each and every aspect involved in the crash. If there's even the slightest chance of a factor being possible, they'll ensure it is either confirmed or ruled out.
The point I'm trying to make here is not that police are inept at investigations--like I said, many officers do the best job they can with the resources they're given. The point I'm trying to make is that with an accident this complex, it's reasonable that those affected should want investigations to be as thorough as possible. In order to be sure all of the facts are brought to light, the evidence needs to be examined by an experienced, independent investigator. Perhaps their work will uncover new details, maybe it will correct mistake information, or maybe it will simply confirm what police have already said. In the end, all that matters is that the full story is told and those affected by the accident aren't left in doubt.
--Grossman Law Offices