SUMNER COUNTY, Kansas—Carl D. Oldridge, 61, of Enid, Oklahoma, passed away on August 30, 2022, around 4:50 p.m. after the semi-truck he was driving rolled over near the 1200 block of S. Caldwell Road.
Kansas Highway Patrol reports suggest that Oldridge was driving a 2019 semi-truck southbound on Kansas Highway 49 near mile marker 5 when the semi-truck left the roadway and went into a ditch. After the cab left the road, reports note that the semi-truck rolled and then came to a stop after striking a utility pole.
Oldridge was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash. Investigation into the cause of the accident is still ongoing. No further information about the crash has been released.
The cause of the truck leaving the roadway will be important to determine any potential recovery
It may be easy to assume that Oldridge was distracted while driving or failed to correct his semi-truck from going off the road. However, there has been an increasing amount of mechanical and technological failures in semi-trucks lately, leading to the death of many semi-truck drivers across the country. An independent investigation into the cause of this accident will likely be necessary to determine what happened in the moments leading up to Oldridge’s untimely death.
An independent investigation must ask why the truck left the roadway in the first place. As previously mentioned, we have seen many mechanical failures in semi-trucks, including steer axle and tire failures. These types of failures can cause a vehicle to veer off-course in a matter of seconds. Although it is sometimes difficult to trace the cause of an accident back to a tire failing or a defect in the steering axle, it is imperative that the crash site be thoroughly assessed for these types of issues.
If such a failure were to be uncovered, Oldridge’s family could seek legal remedies from the semi-truck manufacturer and, in some cases, the trucking company for which Oldridge was driving at the time of his death. Thus, revealing seemingly small details, like a defect in a tire, can make a huge difference in the outcome of any litigation Oldridge’s surviving family may wish to pursue.
Alternatively, if Oldridge was driving a relatively new truck, the semi-truck may have been equipped with driver assistance technology. While this newer technology is intended to help semi-truck drivers, it, too, can fail. Perhaps lane assistance technology failed to warn Oldridge he was leaving the roadway—only further investigation may allow us to know. If, however, Oldridge did rely on driver assistance technology that ultimately failed, his family would likely need to hire an attorney to find out whether any trucking company Oldridge worked for provided Oldridge with the proper training on how to use the technology. If Oldridge was unaware of the dangers of relying on driver assistance technology, there could be another avenue of legal recourse for his grieving family.
While it is still unclear whether Oldridge went off the road due to his own negligence or the negligence of others, it is important that his surviving family be given the opportunity to find out what happened to their loved one. To that end, our firm can provide legal strategies and investigatory services aimed at bringing closure to Oldridge’s family and this horrific event.