Illinois and Missouri Truck Accident News: 14 People Killed As Overloaded Pickup Crashes into Trees in South Texas

By July 17, 2012 Trucking Accidents

This blog typically covers Illinois and Missouri truck accidents. But our attention – and the attention of our whole industry – has been riveted on South Texas, where 14 people recently died (and 9 got injured) when an overcrowded pickup truck flew off a highway into a copse of trees. This horrific tragedy lacked appropriate access to “media oxygen,” thanks in part to last week’s Aurora, Colorado shooting spree, in which 12 people died. But it’s nevertheless important to learn what might have gone wrong in this crash… and to leverage those lessons to help motorists be safer and protect their legal rights.
According to investigators with the Texas Department of Public Safety and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the identities of those killed and injured are largely unknown at this point. 11 males and 3 females were killed – two children were among the victims. Authorities believe this accident constitutes a human smuggling operation gone wrong. The crash site is just an hour away from the site of a deadly crash that happened a nearly decade ago. That crash took the lives of 19 immigrants, who had been packed into a hot trailer.
Why are overly-full trucks at greater risk for overturning and causing injuries?
You’ve likely heard that SUVs and other heavyweight vehicles can have a tendency to “rollover” and hurt occupants inside. Lawsuits against SUV makers, like Ford, caused a media sensation back in the early 2000s. But WHY are SUVs at higher risk for flipping?
Short answer: because they have a higher “center of gravity.”
Even though these big vehicles are more massive than, say, a standard sedan, their high centers of gravity make them more “tippable.” Here’s a good analogy. Imagine trying to build a tower out of cement blocks and legos. If you put the cement blocks on the bottom and then stacked legos on top of the cement, the tower would be pretty hard to tip over. But if you put down a bunch of legos first, and then you stacked a bunch of cement blocks on top of the legos, the tower would be flimsy (to say the least!), even though it might contain more overall mass.
Again, it all comes back to the “center of gravity” issue.
Likewise, when you pile a lot of people into a pickup truck or trailer – more than the recommended or legal amount – you can change the center of gravity of the car or truck and thus make the vehicle more likely to flip during fast turns or other road maneuvers.
If someone you care about was hurt or killed in a Missouri truck accident, the team here at Carey, Danis, and Lowe can help you figure out what to do to obtain compensation and to regain a sense of clarity and peace of mind about your situation.