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John Powell, age 38, was a pastor, husband, and father of four whose life tragically came to an end on Saturday, July 18th, when a semi-truck struck him on the side of the road. Powell was traveling north on U.S. Highway 75 in Sherman, TX with a friend when he noticed a small vehicle on the side of the road that had caught fire.

The vehicle had been in a small accident. It was around 11:30 pm at night, and Powell pulled over so that he and his friend could offer help to the driver of the vehicle. As they stood along the side of the road near the car, Powell noticed an 18-wheeler moving closer toward them.

Little did he know that the brakes on this semi-truck had stalled, and the 18-wheeler would not be able to stop in time. But Powell reacted quickly, pushing at least one person out of harm’s way. Unfortunately, he couldn’t get out of the way himself and was struck by the out-of-control vehicle. John Powell died at the scene.

His family and congregation at the Emmanuel Baptist Church, a new church plant in New Caney, TX, were devastated at the sudden loss of Powell’s life. But his selfless act to save the life of another will live on.

Now the question remains, could this tragedy have been prevented? Why did the 18-wheeler’s brakes stall? One of the biggest reasons why semi-truck brakes fail is that they weren’t maintained correctly in the first place. It is the responsibility of the driver and the trucking company to ensure that regular maintenance on the vehicle’s brakes is performed.

Brakes can also stall when a truck driver fails to understand his brake’s limitations. This could be due to improper training or braking suddenly and applying extensive pressure on the brakes. Granted, it was dark, but the car on the side of the road was on fire. Did the truck driver not see the vehicle, or was he not paying attention until it was too late?  Is it possible that he was intoxicated or tired that night?

New details have not been released yet. Depending on the outcome of the accident investigation, Powell’s family could be entitled to financial compensation for their loss.

DeSouza Law Firm is a leading personal injury firm representing accident victims throughout Texas.

If you’ve been injured by a car, truck, 18 wheeler, company vehicle, or in the oilfield, call DeSouza Injury Lawyers today at 361-799-2222 or visit the firm online at

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