One person was killed and two others were injured in a fiery crash involving three vehicles on Farm-to-Market Road 1061 near Valle de Oro. The crash happened around 9:40 a.m. and involved an 18-wheeler, a U-Haul truck, and a pickup truck.
According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, an 18-wheeler towing a semi-trailer was southbound on 1061, driven by 29-year-old Nehemias Trevino of Amarillo. Sonny Reynolds, 51, of Panama City, Florida, was driving a U-Haul box truck hauling a passenger car on a dolly trailer northbound on 1061. Crystal Taylor-Reynolds, 51, of Panama City, Florida, was driving a pickup truck northbound behind the U-Haul.
The 18-wheeler veered into the northbound lane for unknown reasons and collided head-on with the U-Haul, causing the pickup truck to collide into the back of the U-Haul. Upon impact, the 18-wheeler and U-Haul were engulfed in flames, causing the pickup truck to catch fire as well. Mr. Reynolds was pronounced dead at the scene, Trevino was airlifted to a hospital with serious injuries, and Taylor-Williams was taken to the hospital by ambulance with serious injuries.
When a commercial vehicle is involved in a crash, a thorough investigation must be conducted to determine the cause of the crash and any contributing factors. In these cases, time is of the essence because evidence must be preserved, such as the Electronic Control Module (black box) found in almost every commercial vehicle. The ECM stores vehicle data and is frequently a critical component in helping determine what led up to a crash. In this case, the driver of the semi towing the trailer left his lane of travel and veered into oncoming traffic. The ECM will provide details that can be gathered through the electronic components of the vehicle but it won’t be able to tell us what was going on outside of the system. It is possible the driver may have had a medical emergency or there could have been some kind of mechanical failure. Sometimes, the driver is even distracted or may even be impaired. Having an experienced attorney and accident reconstructionist involved in the entire process can affect the financial recovery of the victim or their family. The details of this crash seem to indicate the driver of the semi was at fault. What the initial reporting does not tell us is if negligence or gross negligence on the part of the driver was a component leading up to this crash. Determining that a trucking company is liable for a crash is only the first step. If their driver was operating the vehicle in such a way that they knew or should have known could lead to an accident, the family may be entitled to additional damages called punitive damages. It is imperative to enlist the help of someone who understands and has successfully navigated this process for others. They can help a family recover financially so they can obtain the help they need to begin the process of moving forward.