Friday, April 25, 2014

Two Men Die in De Soto, KS in Car vs. Pickup Crash

Robert Anthony Zevenbergen, 20, and Johnnie Royce Jackson, 45, died on 3/20/14 at around 1:10 AM in De Soto, KS on the eastbound lane of Kansas Highway 10, just east past Kill Creek Road. Zevenbergen drove a 2013 Toyota Avalon, while Jackson drove a 2007 Chevrolet

Per Kansas Highway Patrol reports, Jackson was originally westbound in K-10, but crossed the center grassy median and then begun heading westbound in the eastbound lanes. He then crashed nearly head-on into Zevenbergen's Avalon. Jackson did not wear a seat belt and was ejected from his vehicle, while Zevenbergen wore his belt and required extrication. Both died at the scene. Per Trooper Howard Dickinson, the crash was unsurvivable due to the forces present at the impact speed of 70 mph. The crash was referred to in a number of media sources as a "crossover" crash due to the lane crossing of Jackson's vehicle.

This is another tragic collision that could have been prevented had one of the drivers maintained his lane. It is not known why Jackson crossed the median, which is designed specifically to prevent such kinds of collisions. However, police stated such crashes tend to be caused by drinking or sleeping drivers, which seems accurate given the time in which the collision occurred (1 AM). Furthermore, later reports revealed Jackson had a license that had been suspended since 1990 and a long history of driving under the influence, so I'd wager this was just another one of those instances. Here is the analysis:

The 2013 Avalon is one of the safest cars one can buy. It weighs ~3490 lbs and had a "good" frontal score per the IIHS, which is the primary score relevant here. It was impacted by a 2007 Silverado, a large pickup with a "good" frontal score that weighs ~5179 lbs, or 148% of the weight of the Avalon. As a result, the Avalon driver automatically faced 48% more force in the collision than he would have if he'd collided with another Avalon, placing him at a severe disadvantage in the collision. This is also 148% of the weight of the simulated vehicle (another Avalon) in the IIHS frontal impact test.

Jackson should have been at an advantage, as his vehicle would have experienced 33% lower forces due to his weight advantage. However, he did not wear his seat belt, and was ejected from his vehicle, effectively guaranteeing his death.

Given the likely speeds of the collision (~70 mph), the collision likely imparted at least 1.15MJ of energy into the Avalon. The Avalon's frontal impact test simulates 253KJ of energy (an Avalon impacting another Avalon at 40 mph). In other words, the Avalon driver faced 454% of the force he'd have experienced in the type of crash his car was rated for. Given the speed of the collision, his odds of survival were, sadly, virtually non-existent.

Interestingly, the Silverado's frontal test simulated 376KJ of energy (a Silverado impacting another at 40 mph), indicating that its driver would have faced 204% of the forces his truck was rated to safely withstand, given that the Avalon imparted 766KJ of energy into the Silverado. While these were still tremendous forces, his odds of survival were still much better than those of the Avalon's driver...or would have been, had he been belted. This is one of the few examples I've found so far of a multi-vehicle collision where fatalities occurred in the higher weight vehicle.

This was ultimately a wholly preventable tragedy.


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  1. Insane. How did he even get a truck with an expired license?

  2. It appears the driver of the truck had a friend co-title the truck to allow him to gain a license plate, state registration and basic high-risk insurance. In the gun world that is called a straw-purchaser. The friend that co-titled the truck knowing about the suspended license and habitual drinking should be prosecuted!


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