5 dead in collision between truck, 18-wheeler


How many people have to die before ADOT wakes up and does something about it??? On Saturday, FIVE (5) members of one family — a grandmother, her daughter and her three grandchildren — were when the pickup truck in which they were riding collided with a semitruck on Interstate 10 near Picacho Peak, police said. Shelley Renee Blackmore, 49; her daughter, Danielle Blackmore, 20; and three children, two 12-year-olds and an 8-year-old, were killed in the three-vehicle crash, according to Department of Public Safety spokesman Sgt. Raul Garcia.

Tracy William Blackmore, 47, the husband, father and grandfather of those killed, was the driver of the pickup and the only survivor, Garcia said. The parents of the three children were not in the truck. Richard Martinez, a neighbor of Tracy and Shelley Blackmore, said the Blackmores were having their three grandchildren over for spring break when the accident occurred.

Their daughter, Danielle, also lived in the Gilbert home, Martinez said. "The kids were out here last week, enjoying being with their grandparents," Martinez said. "This was tragic. They were good people." The family was traveling west on I-10 northwest of Picacho Peak in a Ford F-250 pickup truck at about 6 pm Saturday when the tread on the driver's-side front tire separated, causing Tracy Blackmore to lose control, Garcia said. The pickup veered across the median and into the eastbound lanes, where it collided at an angle with a semitruck carrying computer equipment and then was hit by a sedan. There was NO MEDIAN BARRIER at this location.

 This accident adds to the list of dozens of people that have died in crossover accidents on Interstate 10, because the State has failed and/or refused to employ proper safety measures to prevent these collisions from occurring. In August 2007, two (2) members of the Glazer family died in a crossover collision. In February 2012, a Maricopa County jury returned a verdict in favor of the family and against the State for $7.8 million for failing to have a median barrier in place. In May 2008, two member of the Humphrey family died when they swerved to miss a giant snake in the road, crossing over and hitting a semi-truck. A median barrier would have prevented this.

The case is currently in lawsuit, trial scheduled for January 2015. In September 2011, three members of the Reynolds family were killed in a crossover collision near Picacho Peak (almost the exact same location as on Saturday), when a truck driver had a heart attack, lost control and crossed over. A median barrier would have prevented this. This case is also in lawsuit, no trial yet scheduled. In January 2012, Mr. Coy, while returning from a day of sightseeing in Tucson with his wife, was killed in a crossover in I-10 when a truck experienced an equipment malfunction and lost control. Again, had a barrier been in place, this would not have occurred.

This case is in lawsuit—no trial yet scheduled. In addition to these, there have been many other crossover incidents where people have died or been seriously injured. The State is aware that these have occurred, because the Arizona Department of Public Safety has investigated each and every one of them. The State still has done nothing about them.

The State’s own experts have conceded that median barriers are 95% effective in preventing crossover collisions. Just a few week ago in Phoenix, a fully loaded semi lost control on I-10 in the west valley and at full speed, intruded into the median. The cable median barrier in place there completely controlled the impact and kept the truck from crossing over into oncoming lanes.

No one was injured. Please Arizona, for the sake of all of us, WAKE UP!! The I-10 between Phoenix and Tucson should have had median barriers installed years ago. Had that been done, many deaths and serious injuries would have been prevented. How many more have to die before the value of life becomes more important that the cost of putting barriers in place??