No one yet knows why the truck driver did not apply the brakes until it was too late. But we do know the results of his error: a fiery interstate tractor-trailer accident that left five people dead.
The chain-reaction six-vehicle crash on Interstate 70 between Kansas City and Lawrence, Kansas, this past Tuesday began when an 18-wheeler crested a small hill. Ahead of the large truck were several vehicles that had slowed for road construction. The big rig did not slow until right before the violent initial impact that set off a sequence of events that within moments ignited a blaze that consumed lives and vehicles.
Among the dead was an elderly married couple: he was a chemistry professor and she was a biology instructor, according to news reports. Also killed were two women who were traveling to Colorado and a 38-year-old Topeka man.
A 56-year-old Texas man has been identified as the driver of the truck.
Law enforcement officials say it will take investigators several months to issue a report on the wreck. A possible cause certain to be looked at in detail: distracted driving by the trucker.
Many studies and countless accidents, injuries and fatalities have made an undeniable case about the dangers of distracted driving, yet people continue to pay attention to their phones rather than traffic and the road ahead of them.
Until people stop indulging in the behavior, these kinds of tragedies will continue to regularly take place.
In these cases, survivors and families that lost loved ones can pursue compensation for damages from both the truck driver and the company that employed him.