BELL COUNTY, Texas — Christopher Decker, a 31-year-old Belton resident, died Dec. 30 in a one-vehicle accident on Shanklin Road in Belton, less than a mile from Interstate 35.
Decker was westbound in a 2006 Ford F-250 at about 5 p.m. when the pickup veered off the roadway, according to troopers with the Texas Department of Public Safety. DPS suspects the vehicle rolled over before hitting a tree.
Decker died at the scene of the crash, which remains under investigation. DPS has not released any additional information about factors that may have contributed to the crash.
Commentary on the fatal rollover accident that took the life of Christopher Decker
I am deeply saddened to learn of Mr. Christopher Decker’s untimely death resulting from this tragic accident. I have personally witnessed the heartache friends and family of the deceased must endure as they search for answers. I extend my condolences to those left behind and hope the family’s wounds may heal with time.
From the details reported we can surmise the sequence of events leading to this tragic accident. Mr. Decker was traveling in a Ford F-250 pickup truck when, for an unknown reason, his truck veered off the shoulder and left the safety of the roadway. Unless a medical emergency or some other intervening cause impacted Mr. Decker initially, I imagine Mr. Decker, finding himself in a highly precarious position, attempted to regain control of the vehicle and navigate back to safety. Unable to do so, Mr. Decker’s control of the vehicle was lost entirely, and the pickup rolled.
It is easy to look at this case and conclude Mr. Decker is at fault for leaving the roadway. However, the law is not that simple. Maintaining control of a vehicle at highway speeds in dirt or other slippery surfaces is difficult even for professional drivers. The roadway provides traction whereby the vehicle’s responses conform to the driver’s inputs. When a vehicle enters a slippery surface, a vehicle’s response to driver inputs is curtailed. Vehicle manufacturers know under certain conditions driver inputs have little impact on a vehicle’s response and are charged with providing safety features to mitigate the risks associated with such situations. One of the most important goals of an auto manufacturer is to provide a crashworthy vehicle. Failure to do so subjects the manufacturer to liability for harm resulting from the accident.
Without a detailed examination of the vehicle, it is difficult to determine if Mr. Decker’s F-250 was crashworthy at the time of the accident. I encourage the family of the deceased to consult experienced professionals to gain a better understanding of the post-accident process and options available to them.
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