KTAL News reported Friday morning, July 21, 2023, turned tragic when a collision between a semi-trailer and an SUV resulted in the loss of three lives. The incident occurred at approximately 10:55 a.m. near the intersection of FM 2648 and US 271 in Powderly, Texas.
The fatal accident involved a 2000 Peterbilt semi-truck, driven by Clarence Fowler, a resident of Valiant, Oklahoma. The semi-truck was hauling a trailer and traveling westbound on FM 2648. According to authorities, Fowler failed to yield the right of way to a 2013 Toyota Highlander, heading southbound on US 271.
Behind the wheel of the Toyota Highlander was Mary K Cooper, a resident of Hugo, Oklahoma. As per reports, Cooper had the right of way at the intersection. Tragically, the Highlander collided with the semi-truck, and the vehicle slid underneath the trailer, resulting in severe consequences.
The collision proved fatal for Mary K Cooper, and tragically claimed the lives of her passengers, identified as Janet K Carter from Durant, Oklahoma, and a 16-year-old boy, whose identity has not been disclosed yet. All three victims tragically lost their lives at the scene of the accident.
The driver of the semi-truck, Clarence Fowler, escaped the incident without injuries.
In the wake of the devastating crash, authorities from the Texas Department of Public Safety (TDPS) have taken charge of the investigation. The exact cause of the accident is yet to be determined, and the authorities will thoroughly analyze the circumstances leading to this heart-wrenching event.
To shed light on the truck accidents, we sat down with local Texas-based truck accident attorney Marc Lenahan, Esq. With his extensive experience in handling such cases, Mr. Lenahan shares insights into the potential civil recourse for truck accident victims and their families. In this exclusive interview, he discusses the elements crucial to building a civil case against liable parties and offers valuable advice for those seeking justice amidst the aftermath of a tragic accident.
Darla Medina (DM): In light of the recent tragic accident, could you shed some light on what options truck accident victims and their families, in general, have when considering a civil case against the parties at fault?
Marc Lenahan (ML): Of course, Darla. In such cases, victims and their families may be entitled to pursue a civil case to seek compensation for the losses they have endured.
DM: Could you tell our readers what elements need to be established in a civil case against the liable parties in a truck accident?
ML: Certainly. In a civil case, the plaintiffs need to establish four key elements: duty, breach of duty, causation, and damages. To put it simply, they must prove that the truck driver had a duty to operate the vehicle safely and responsibly, that the driver breached that duty (for example, by failing to yield the right of way), that this breach of duty caused the accident, and finally, that the accident resulted in significant damages, such as injuries, medical expenses, loss of income, and in this case, the tragic loss of lives.
DM: What are the typical parties that might be held liable in a truck accident?
ML: In a truck accident, multiple parties could be held liable, depending on the circumstances surrounding the incident. The obvious parties include the truck driver, the trucking company, or even the manufacturer of the truck or its parts if any mechanical failure contributed to the accident. Additionally, if any third party contributed to the collision, such as a negligent road maintenance company or another driver, they could also be potentially held accountable.
DM: What advice would you give to the families of the victims who are considering pursuing a civil case?
ML: My advice would be to focus on healing and grieving while allowing a skilled truck accident attorney to handle the legal complexities. Engaging a knowledgeable attorney will ensure that their rights are protected and the evidence is thoroughly examined. It's essential to act promptly in such cases, as evidence can disappear or become harder to obtain over time.