What's always stuck in my mind was that this was a troubled kid who wasn't thinking straight and continued to make poor decisions along the way, ultimately ones that proved fatal. For one thing, one shouldn't head out on an international drive, that into a desolate area, knowing that one's motor vehicle is on its last legs. This kid had been told that his van would "eventually need a new fuel pump" yet still chose to hurry out on a cross country drive without first just visiting a local garage for a few hours to get some needed service. While the possibility of getting some last juice out of a fuel pump that's on its last legs might be feasible within local city driving, to do so on a long distance journey through a desolate area like Nebraska is asking for trouble, especially knowing that such large desolate areas are breeding grounds for the kind of drifters whom Brian Walker ran into. The kid also showed how disturbed he was in that he had chances along the way to ask others for help in shaking off these two bums but just wouldn't speak up. I've often felt that the way he was portrayed, as a kid who hadn't seen much of his father and possibly wanted to get away from his mother and brothers, showed that he was very troubled to begin with but hadn't been diagnosed as such in any way. In all likelihood he needed professional help right from the start.