• July 20, 2017

Jason Boppre, William Joyner, Gary Voeller Killed in Grand Forks, ND, Accident

Grand Forks, ND -- July 18, 2017, Jason Boppre, William Joyner, and Gary Voeller were killed, others were hurt, in an accident involving a transport van.

Authorities from the North Dakota Highway Patrol reported on the fatal incident, saying that it happened at around 7:30 p.m. along US Highway 2. The van was traveling westbound from the airport to the Grand Forks Air Force Base.

Officials say that the van was carrying several passengers who were employees at the Air Force base through the LISTEN Drop-in Center, which helps people with disabilities. As they traveled down the highway, the van somehow crossed paths with an 18-wheeler, and the two vehicles collided. This caused the van to overturn in the median.

As a result of the crash, 39-year-old Boppre, 66-year-old Joyner, and 41-year-old Voeller--all passengers in the van--were killed. Below is a list of those injured, also passengers of the van.

  • Constantino Ibarra Jr., 27
  • Gerald Kraviec, 22
  • Todd Oksendahl, 40
  • Kimberly Allard, 45
  • Ronald Creutz, 59
  • Evelyn Poppenhagen, 55

Their exact conditions were not given, though reports say some were in critical condition. The condition of the van driver, 43-year-old Jeannie Northburg, was not specified, and the truck driver was not injured.

At this time, authorities have not determined the cause of the accident.

Map of the Area

Commentary

One of the things I've talked about a lot on this blog is how accidents involving a commercial vehicle are the most complex ones there are. From reports, it seems like the van involved is a commercial transport vehicle rather than, say, a typical minivan. You know what's more complex than an accident involving a commercial vehicle? One involving two.

So why is this so important? Well despite what many might believe, police investigations are often not enough to properly investigate a commercial vehicle accident. As competent as many officers are at their job, most departments simply don't have the time, tools, or experience necessary to deal with something as intricate as an accident like this. The factors involved in a commercial vehicle accident can be very subtle and easily overlooked. At the end of the day, those affected by this accident deserve to know the full story, not an incomplete fact pattern.

An accident like this needs to be examined by an experienced accident reconstructionist independent of the police. Someone with years of experience dealing with these kinds of crashes will have the knowledge and the equipment necessary to give the details the attention they deserve. Any and all possible factors must be considered and either ruled out or confirmed through tangible evidence. Anything less than this is simply an injustice to the victims and their families affected by this incident.

--Grossman Law Offices

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