Four people are dead following a traffic collision at an intersection outside Waco, Texas.
About the Fatal Gholson Accident
A preliminary investigation determined a Hyundai Sonata began to hydroplane as it traveled north on Gholson Road, overcorrected, and veered into the southbound lanes, colliding with a Dodge pickup truck. The Sonata then struck a Ford pickup that was traveling behind the Dodge.
A man, a woman, and three girls were traveling in the vehicle at the time of the collision. The surviving child was transported to Baylor Scott & White Hillcrest medical Center and is listed in critical condition.
The driver of the Dodge pickup truck was also hospitalized as were two adults and three children traveling in the Ford pickup. All are listed in stable condition.
Texas Auto Accident Statistics
The following information was provided by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT):
- 3,377 people were killed in auto accidents in Texas in 2013.
- This marked a 1.05-percent decrease from the 3,413 deaths reported in 2012.
- Another 232,041 people were injured in motor vehicle accidents in 2013, with 89,270 people sustaining serious injuries.
- 767 people were killed in accidents that occurred at or in relation to intersections and 523 people were killed in head-on collisions.
- TxDOT estimates one person was killed in an auto accident every 2 hours and 36 minutes and a person was injured every 2 minutes and 36 seconds.
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About the Fatal Vehicle Accident
Oklahoma Highway Patrol investigators report that semi-driver, Stanley Matsinger, of Grandbury, Texas, collided with a vehicle on U.S. Highway 70.
Oklahoma City native, Todd Leonard, was driving with his children on U.S. Highway 70 when the semi crashed his car. Leonard died in the accident, along with two of his children, who were one and three-years-old.
Leonard’s eight-year-old son suffered from major injuries in the accident.
Stanley Matsinger has been indicted on three counts of negligent homicide since the accident.
Trucking and Auto Accident Statistics
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:
- 3,921 individuals were killed in motor vehicles accidents involving large trucks in 2012.
- 73% of those killed in trucking accidents were occupants of smaller/other vehicles.
- 104,000 people were injured in trucking accidents in 2012.
- More than 30,000 people die per year due to auto accidents.
- About 33,561 traffic related deaths occurred last year.
- The fatality rate for trucking accidents continues to increase every year.
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A Van Zandt County Judge ruled Monday that Texas resident Candice Anderson had been wrongfully convicted for a fatal car crash that claimed the life of her fiancé, Gene Erickson, overturning a guilty plea entered by Anderson nearly a decade ago.
The decision to overturn Anderson’s conviction comes just after the release of new evidence linking the accident to a faulty ignition switch recalled by General Motors earlier this year.
Regulators Link Erickson’s Death to Recalled Ignition Switch
Investigations found trace amounts of Xanax in Anderson’s system, and Anderson pleaded guilty to criminally negligent homicide following an indictment by a grand jury. Anderson received $2,500 in fines and was sentenced to five years of probation for the offense.
It was not until June, 2014 that Anderson learned the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) had linked Erickson’s death to a massive recall covering millions of General Motors vehicles.
The recall noted that multiple GM models, including the 2004 Saturn Ion, had been equipped with a faulty ignition switch that could shift out of the run position and into the off or accessory positions, even when the vehicles were in motion. NHTSA went on to report that such an event would cut engine power, resulting in the loss of power steering, power brakes, and airbag functionality.
GM Acknowledges Defect “Caused or Contributed” to Erickson’s Death
“GM allowed the victim to be convicted. Now, on the day of the hearing to prove it was GM and not Candice, GM admits what it has known since 2004.” – Anderson’s attorney Bob Hilliard as published by the Wall Street Journal
Only a few hours before Monday’s hearing, Anderson’s attorney, Bob Hilliard, received an email from GM that Anderson’s collision was one in which “the recall condition may have caused or contributed to the front airbag non-deployment.”
Though GM had informed NHTSA last year that Erickson’s death was one of 13 fatalities attributed to the faulty ignition switch, the information was never released to the public or Ms. Anderson. The information continued to be withheld even after Senator Richard Blumenthal urged GM CEO Mary Barra to back a pardon for Anderson, stating that the Justice Department could hold GM accountable for failing to make the defect known when Anderson was prosecuted.
Anderson has stated that she does not plan to pursue further legal action agaisnt GM and has revealed that she will likely accept a settlement from GM's victims' compensation fund. The fund has received 225 death claims since its opening in August.
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