On August 6, 2018, Bob Roby, 53, of Pleasanton was driving down Hwy. 97 West to his first job site of the day. Around 6 a.m., Roby was halfway down Hwy. 97 between Jourdanton and Charlotte when an 18-wheeler crossed over the double yellow line on a bridge into oncoming traffic. Little did Roby know that he would never make it to that first job site, or any other job site.
“Now we have to live the rest of our lives without him and it’s not easy. We miss him so much every day,” Roby’s son, Patrick, explained.
According to Texas DPS reports from the day of the crash, the driver of the 18-wheeler stated he was blinded by oncoming headlights and could not establish his placement on the road due to no lane line or shoulder stripes. The crash occurred 0.01 miles west of County Road 321. That stretch of Hwy. 97 was on a bridge and a two-lane, two-way roadway with no turn lane or shoulder separated by temporary reflectors. It was not in a construction zone. Further DPS reports state the 18-wheeler side swiped a company pickup causing that driver to lose control and spin counterclockwise on the highway. The 18-wheeler then continued to travel on the wrong side of the highway–not passing–and traveled directly toward Roby’s pickup, instantly killing him. In response, DPS reports that Roby attempted to take evasive action to the right, but was on a bridge and could go no further as he was as far to the right as he could get against the guardrail. That’s when the 18-wheeler hit Roby head on, causing both vehicles to travel through the guardrail and come to a rest in the barrow ditch off the highway.
P. Roby explained that the crash was so horrible that when people first arrived on the scene, they only thought one vehicle was involved instead of two.
“That’s how beat up my father’s truck was. You couldn’t even tell my father’s truck was there until they really started investigating the site. They had to cut his truck apart to get him out.”
Since then, the Robys have endured two difficult years without their loved one and are seeking justice for their father/ husband’s death.
“I say he was killed because he didn’t die a peaceful death surrounded by loved ones,” said P. Roby. “He died alone, in a ditch, on the side of the highway, all because of the choices made by one driver behind the wheel of an 18-wheeler.”
According to Roby, to this day, that driver has walked away unscathed with no apology or sincerity toward the Robys’ loss.
“No charges have ever been filed. [The driver] didn’t spend a single day behind bars. He is able to do whatever he wants. He gets to enjoy life with his family while we don’t. We have never met this person and he has never reached out to express his remorse.”
The case was taken before the 81st Judicial District Attorney’s Office, but was rejected on January 29, 2019. District Attorney Audrey Gossett Louis’ review states, “Based on my review of this case as submitted, there is no probable cause to support the offense at this time.”
Today, the Robys and their attorney still seek justice for their father/ husband and hope the District Attorney’s office will accept their case this time around.
“Our lawyer has gathered new evidence against this driver and the company. Our family is hurting and we want them to feel our pain,” said P. Roby. “By them not doing anything to this one driver, it gives all truck drivers a free-for-all in that they can get away with anything.”
According to the Texas Department of Transportation, 600 people were killed in head-on crashes in 2019. In 2017, statewide fatal crashes in Texas involved 126 trucks, 433 truck-tractors or semitrailers, five fire trucks, 17 buses and eight school buses.
Roby was born in Pleasanton to Dwayne and Mayme (Dawson) Roby on July 7, 1965. He is survived by his wife, Carol Ann Roby of Pleasanton; sons, Patrick Roby of Pleasanton; Jason Roby, also of Pleasanton; and James Roby and wife Phylicia of Von Ormy and grandson, Wyatt Wayne Roby. He is preceded in death by his parents, Dwayne and Mayme Roby.