Family of Houston man killed in crash involving 18-wheeler calling for tougher truck regulations

Family members of Lee Simmons, Jr. are having a difficult time dealing with losing the loving husband and father of five. 

"It’s a very difficult time for the family," says Dr. Anjanette Wyatt, Simmons’ Aunt. "My heart aches for my niece because now she has to care for those small kids alone." 

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Dr. Wyatt says her 32-year-old nephew was on his way to pick up his two youngest daughters from school, when Harris County Deputies say two tires came off of an 18-wheeler from the Southbound side of the North Freeway. They rolled onto the northbound side - one wheel struck Simmons's car, killing him. His 11-year-old, who was in the backseat of the car suffered minor injuries. 

This happened just 24 hours before another crash involving a cement truck on Beltway 8, killing a young child. HCSO reports a cement truck drove off of the Beltway on Woodforest and crashed into an SUV below, killing a toddler inside. It’s unclear if the driver of the truck will be facing any charges. 

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Personal injury attorney Patrick O'Hara believes a couple of things attribute to the rise in crashes with small cars and commercial trucks. 

He says the rising population in Houston and fewer COVID-19 restrictions call for more drivers on the roads, and he also says there are fewer qualified truck drivers operating big trucks. 

"It’s harder for companies to get qualified drivers," says O’Hara. It's actually their fault. When I was a child, 30 years ago, if you were an 18-wheeler driver, you can make a good income. You could support your family. Now it's hard for them to make ends meet. So if it's hard to get a qualified driver, there's fewer of them on the road. They're also not good at maintaining their vehicles." 

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Dr. Wyatt agrees with the attorney and hopes to see tougher regulations on Texas roads. 

"There are far too many truck-related accidents in the city of Houston. Big truck safety is something that we need to prioritize," she says.