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Texas trucker dies in accident explosion; crash cause unknown

Transportation officials are investigating a fiery single-vehicle accident that killed a Pampas, Texas, truck driver. Public safety officials are not certain why the truck accident occurred.

The mid-state crash occurred near Temple at the Leon River overpass on Highway 36. The truck hit a bridge wall, soared over a guard rail and flipped. The vehicle crashed, exploded and caught fire with the driver trapped inside.

Crash reconstruction crews will be able to trace the commercial vehicle’s speed and path prior to the accident. It will be harder for investigators to establish why the 69-year-old truck driver lost control.

Reports failed to mention weather or road conditions, the time of the crash or whether witnesses saw what happened. A witness’s viewpoint would help authorities piece together the truck and driver’s actions in the moments before the fatality.

A coroner would help determine whether the driver had a medical episode or was intoxicated. A thorough examination of the wreckage could show that the mechanical system of the commercial vehicle was faulty. Liability for the crash would shift if the accident cause is tied to unsafe tires, brakes or mechanical failure.

Bell County authorities did not say whether the victim operated his own truck, leased the vehicle or worked for a trucking company. Transportation officials will want to know the party responsible for truck maintenance. The trucking firm’s safety practices and driver records will be studied. A wrongful death claim could depend on the results.

Liability claims for damages are dependent upon proof of negligence, whether the evidence is gathered by police or through an independent investigation.

A trucking company that encourages fatigued drivers to work or violates other safety codes becomes an indirect contributor to accident injuries or deaths. A civil claims court may order the employer to compensate the victim’s family for the financial and emotional loss of a loved one.

Source: connectamarillo.com, "Pampa truck driver killed in fiery accident" Brandon Carpenter, Jul. 10, 2013

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