MARTIN COUNTY, Texas- 53-year-old Becky Lea Wilson was pronounced dead following an accident on SH 349 outside Midland.
According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, Wilson’s vehicle crossed into oncoming traffic and struck a culvert, causing her vehicle to go airborne and ultimately roll over. DPS confirmed Wilson was wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash.
Authorities have not determined the cause of Wilson losing control of the vehicle, but an investigation is ongoing.
No additional information is available at this time.
Thoughts on rollover accidents and the crashworthiness of vehicles
We want to send our deepest condolences to the family of Ms. Wilson during this difficult time. From what we know, it appears Ms. Wilson lost control of her vehicle for one reason or another. Crashes like this—where there is no obvious cause—are important to investigate to determine the exact cause of the crash. A lot of folks assume a rollover accident must be the fault of the driver and that no relief is available under the law. However, that is not always true, and an independent investigation will need to be conducted before that determination can be made.
The first thing we will want to investigate is whether a mechanical failure caused Ms. Wilson to lose control of the vehicle. A failure of the braking or steering systems is more common than a lot of people realize. We frequently find that the root cause of these failures is either a bad repair job or a defective part. Evidence of either would enable the family to seek relief from the service shop and/or the manufacturer of the defective part.
Alternatively, Ms. Wilson may have suffered a tire failure that caused her to lose control of the vehicle. This may be as simple as a tire installed incorrectly, causing the vehicle to lose control. On the other hand, we are seeing an alarming number of rollover accidents caused by defective tires. When a tire blows out at highway speeds, the driver has little control over the vehicle and often crashes into whatever is in its path. These are complex issues that require training to identify. Nevertheless, a potential tire issue must be addressed before determining the cause of this crash.
We also want to investigate whether the vehicle was crashworthy. “Crashworthiness” refers to the vehicle’s ability to protect occupants during a crash. Our firm handles rollover accidents across the country because we understand how to determine if a car was crashworthy at the time of the crash. Mainly, in rollover accidents, we must determine if the vehicle provided Ms. Wilson with sufficient survival space, if the seatbelt performed as intended, and whether the roof was sufficiently strong to withstand the force of impact. If the vehicle fails in any one of these areas, the family may have a claim against the car manufacturer for their loved one’s death.
Regardless of what the official investigation finds, we always advocate for an independent legal investigation, particularly in cases with no apparent cause of the accident. Resource constraints often mean official investigations stop at the first identified cause—driver error. Unfortunately, we find many accidents have more than one cause, and we do not stop our analysis until all causes have been identified.