VERNON COUNTY, Missouri—Tylar A. Greene, 19, Allison R. Bittiker, 24, and an unidentified minor passed away on September 12, 2022, after their Ford pickup crashed into the side of a Peterbilt semi-truck. Derick Mahurin, 19, was also seriously injured in the crash. The incident occurred at approximately 12:12 a.m., five miles west of Nevada, Missouri at the intersection of US Highway 54 and Missouri Route 43.
Police reports reveal that the Ford pickup, driven by Greene, failed to stop at a stop sign and collided with the side of the Peterbilt semi-truck.
The 48-year-old semi-truck driver was not injured. Both Bittiker and the minor were pronounced dead at the scene due to blunt-force trauma injuries. Greene was taken to a nearby hospital but later succumbed to his injuries at 4:40 a.m. Mahurin survived the crash but was taken to a hospital with serious injuries. Reportedly, none of the passengers in the pickup truck were wearing seatbelts.
The severity of this accident may have been lessened with the use of available safety technology
Even though we do not yet know everything about this horrific crash, we can still attempt to piece together what might have had an impact on the severity of this accident. Certainly, the passengers and the driver of the Ford pickup truck would have had better chances of survival had they been wearing seatbelts, and we cannot ignore the fact that the driver ran through a stop sign before hitting the semi-truck. However, an independent legal investigation will be necessary to determine all causes of the crash.
For instance, such an independent investigation may allow the families of those killed to question the crashworthiness of the Ford pickup and the safety features in use on the semi-truck. In recent years, Ford has settled lawsuits related to the lack of crashworthiness of their pickups, especially in regard to the design of their roofs. In certain instances, Ford pickup roofs have not withstood the force of a collision as they should. Given the pickup truck driven by Greene slammed into the side of the semi-truck and went partially beneath the semi, the ability of the roof to withstand the sheer force of the accident may have made a difference in the survivability of the accident for Greene and his passengers.
Alternatively, an independent legal investigation could call into question whether the semi-truck was equipped with underguards to prevent this kind of crash. Over the past decade, many commercial trucking companies have installed underguards on their trucks to prevent cars from going underneath the semi-truck. The underguards resemble large sheets of metal or plastic that run down the side of the truck’s trailer between both sets of tires. Since the Ford pickup truck went partially beneath the semi-truck, it will be important to determine if this safety feature was present. If it was not, then the families may be successful in bringing a claim against the commercial trucking company, claiming the company did not prioritize safety enough.
The Ammons Law Firm can provide independent legal investigations, and our attorneys have extensive experience handling accidents with multiple fatalities due to a collision with a semi-truck. While it may be difficult to think of a legal strategy during this difficult time, our firm aims to help families find answers during difficult events. Our deepest sympathies go out to the families of those lost in this accident.