• May 12, 2017

Child Killed, Halea Knight, Another Child Injured in Conway, AR, Accident

Conway, AR -- May 11, 2017, a child was killed and Halea Knight and another child were injured following an accident where their car hit a tractor.

The Arkansas State Police released details surrounding the accident. They say it happened just after 8:30 a.m. along Highway 64, just outside the Conway Expo Center & Fairgrounds.

According to police investigations, 35-year-old Knight was driving eastbound along the highway with a boy and a girl, ages and names not given, riding as passengers. As they traveled, for reasons not made clear, the vehicle somehow collided into the back of a John Deere that was also eastbound on the highway.

The collision caused the vehicle to lose control and overturn. The boy was ejected from the vehicle in the process. As a result, he died at the scene. Knight and the girl were taken to
nearby hospitals for treatment of unspecified injuries. The tractor driver's condition was not reported.

Police did not indicate any particular factors contributing to the accident. No further information is currently available.

Map of the Area

Commentary

There really aren't many details in this police report, and I can't help but wonder just how this accident may have occurred. Considering this happened during daylight hours, I doubt that a lack of reflective/warning signals was a factor. But that doesn't necessarily mean the car driver made some sort of error. The police report doesn't do anything to mention how fast either vehicle was going, whether or not the tractor was making a turn, or perhaps turned onto the highway from the fairgrounds.

Ultimately we see how things aren't just as simple as "car hit rear of tractor." The "what" is never as important as the "why" and "how" of the accident, and those are rarely answered in police reports. As such, it's very important after any accident to conduct a private investigation with the aid of an experienced professional.

Police reports often miss very subtle details (brake failure, road hazards, defective parts, etc.) or can even get details wrong. For instance, these reports often put their fact pattern as some variation of, "V1 struck V2," depending on what they believe happened. You can see how a simple typo could easily change the entire landscape of the accident and place the victims at fault. When it comes to private investigators, however, they know all of the possible factors which can contribute to any given accident. That means that regardless of how unlikely or subtle a factor may be, it is thoroughly examined before either being confirmed or ruled out. Doing so helps ensure that victims and their families are getting the full story and not just a rudimentary fact pattern.

Now I don't mean this as a slight to police investigators in any way. Many officers are very good at their jobs and do the most effective job they can with the resources they're given. The unfortunate reality is that most departments simply don't have the time or resources necessary to finding the sorts of crucial details that can sometimes occur in an accident. A police investigation may be enough to determine who did or didn't have the right of way or if someone was breaking the law when they caused an accident, but without a more thorough, independent investigation, how can anyone be sure no other, harder to detect factors occurred?

It all comes down to ruling out every possibility. Did something like brake failure or a sudden lane change contribute to this accident? From the police report, there's no way for the public to tell. In order for those affected to be sure they're getting the full story, a dedicated, experienced investigator needs to look at the accident. Perhaps it will uncover new information or correct mistaken details the police got wrong. Or, in the end, it could simply confirm what the police have already stated. The point here is that when a tragic accident occurs, there's no such thing as being too thorough. Accidents such as these bring incredible hardships to those affected, and the first step toward a resolution is knowing, beyond doubt, what happened.

--Grossman Law Offices

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