The daughter of Southern rock-country singer Hank Williams Jr. died shortly after a single-vehicle rollover crash June 13, in Henry County, Tennessee.
Authorities said that Katherine “Katie” Williams-Dunning, 27, was driving and her husband, Tyler Dunning, 29, was in the passenger seat of a 2007 Chevy Tahoe SUV with a boat in tow. They were traveling south on Highway 70 northeast of Paris, Tennessee, when Ms. Williams-Dunning lost control of the vehicle for unknown reasons. The Tahoe crossed the highway median and entered a “rollover sequence,” crossing the northbound lanes before coming to a stop on the highway’s eastern shoulder.
Ms. Williams-Dunning died minutes after the crash. Mr. Dunning was airlifted to Vanderbilt University Medical Center where he remains hospitalized with undisclosed injuries. A family member told reporters only that Mr. Dunning was “responsive.”
Ms. Williams-Dunning was the daughter of Hank Williams Jr. and his third wife Mary Jane Thomas. She was Hank’s youngest daughter and a self-proclaimed “daddy’s girl.” She married Tyler in 2015 and they have two children, 5-year-old Beau and 2-year-old Audrey Lane. They also owned a clothing line together called Weston Jane.
Most rollover crashes occur when a driver loses control of the vehicle for whatever reason, and it begins to slide in a sideways motion. If the vehicle trips on an obstacle, such as a curb or landscape gradient, it rolls over.
Rollovers also can occur when the driver is going around a curve or bend in the road at a high speed or in a collision, such as when one vehicle t-bones another at high speed.
The strength of the roof pillars and windshield leaders can make the difference between life and death in a rollover crash. Roof crush may occur in vehicles that have weaker roof structures, causing the top of the vehicle to cave into the cab in a rollover and impinging on occupant space.
Rollover crashes and roof crush also cause the side windows to shatter. Most rollover/roof-crush deaths happen when vehicle occupants are ejected through the windows. For those who survive a rollover and roof crush, head and neck injuries are common.
Lawyers in our firm’s Personal Injury & Products Liability section investigate cases of serious injury and deaths in vehicle accidents. In particular, single-vehicle crashes that result in these types of injuries and fatalities should be investigated for a potential products liability claim. Often, it is discovered that a defective auto product such as a tires, seat belts, airbags or roof failed to protect drivers and passengers in the event of a crash. For more information on auto products liability, contact Greg Allen, Beasley Allen’s lead products liability lawyer, Ben Baker or LaBarron Boone, or Rob Register in our Atlanta office.