Officials have handed seven felony charges to the driver of a rented box truck who plowed into a toll booth on the Bay Bridge on December 2, 2017, killing the worker inside. The charges solidify an initial arrest that was made at the scene after the California Highway Patrol (CHP) officers determined that the man was driving under the influence.
Even more truck crashes in the state have followed in the days since the toll booth crash, an indicator that, once again, the number of semi-truck accidents in California could increase. The number of fatal accidents involving a large truck has climbed steadily since 2012, from 261 that year to 322 in 2016.
District Attorney Charges Box Truck Driver for Causing the San Francisco Toll Booth Crash while Intoxicated
December 11, 2017
Daniel Berk, the 32-year-old Foster City man who drove into a Bay Bridge toll booth and killed an attendant working in the booth on December 2, 2017, has been charged with seven felony counts. The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office charged Berk in documents filed on December 11, 2017.
The charges include one count of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, along with six counts of driving under the influence and causing bodily injury. Forty-six-year-old Si Si Han died while working inside the toll booth, and five other people were injured.
A statement from CHP officer Andrey Gavrilchik, who responded to the scene of the San Francisco toll booth crash, is included in the filing. In it, Gavrilchik discusses finding Berk, who admitted he had been driving the box truck, and suspecting that he was under the influence.
Officer Newberry and I detected a faint odor of an alcoholic beverage and marijuana emanating from Berks person at the scene. Officer Newberry contacted Berk in the back of the Paramedics Plus ambulance and continued to detect a faint odor of an alcoholic beverage, and marijuana emanating from Berks person.
The officers’ suspicions were confirmed in transit to the hospital when Berk admitted he had consumed both alcoholic beverages and marijuana before the accident—a statement which matched the paramedics’ review of Berk.
Berk made spontaneous statements to medical personnel during transport that he was driving the vehicle and of consuming an alcoholic beverage and of smoking marijuana prior to the traffic collision. Paramedics observation of Berks constricted pupils and their lack of reaction to direct light.
Berk was initially arrested at Highland Hospital, where he received treatment for major injuries after being thrown from the box truck in the collision. A CHP spokesman said on Tuesday that he was unaware if Berk was still being treated at Highland Hospital. An Alameda County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman was also unsure of Berk’s location, though he is not listed in the Alameda County sheriff’s inmate locator system.
A memorial service for Han was held on December 8, 2017, and a GoFundMe account set up after to the crash to help Han’s family continues to bring in donations. The fundraiser had an initial goal of $25,000, but exceeded it in nine days, so it was increased to $35,000. It had reached $28,507 on December 14, 2017.
Collision Between SUV and Grain Truck in Petaluma Kills One
December 8, 2017
In the week following the San Francisco toll booth crash, truck-related tragedies mounted around the state, including a head-on collision east of Petaluma that left the driver of an SUV dead. The incident occurred at approximately 3:48 p.m. as a white Chevrolet Trailblazer traveled east on Old Adobe Road. Officials believe that the SUV veered into the westbound lane and directly struck an empty grain truck. CHP officials suspect the SUV driver, 31-year-old Brendon Ross Barraclough of Rancho Cordova, attempted to pass at approximately 60 miles per hour using the westbound lane when the vehicles collided.
Barraclough was pronounced dead at the scene, according to Herb Wandel, the battalion chief for Rancho Adobe Fire Protection District. No other passengers were inside the SUV. The driver of the grain truck, 49-year-old Eduardo Avila of Santa Rosa, was not injured.
Tow Truck Accident in Redding Results in Serious Injuries
December 7, 2017
Lindsey Privitera, a 30-year-old Redding woman, remains in serious condition at Mercy Medical Center following a collision with a flatbed tow truck on Highway 299.
Privitera was driving a Ford Taurus westbound in the Rock Creek Road area at approximately 1:44 p.m. when, according to CHP Lt. Scott Frederick, a flatbed tow truck driving east crossed the double yellow lines. Privitera swerved to avoid the crash, but the truck driver attempted to return to his lane at the same time, causing him to collide with the right side of the Ford. Privitera had to be extricated from her vehicle before being taken to the hospital.
The truck driver was later identified as 71-year-old William Hall Jr., also a Redding resident. He sustained minor injuries to his leg.
Officials do not know why Hall drove into the oncoming lane, but studies have found that the number of truck accidents involving drivers over 70 has been increasing, possibly due to factors such as cognitive functioning.
Big Rig Left Hanging from Overpass After Stockton Truck Crash
December 5, 2017
A truck driver narrowly escaped harm when the cab of his vehicle was left dangling dangerously off a freeway overpass in Stockton. Images from the incident show the badly damaged yellow cab perched precariously in a gap between two elevated lanes of Interstate 5.
The semi veered off the freeway while attempting to avoid a collision with a non-commercial truck at approximately 5:45 a.m. The semi driver was trying to merge onto northbound Interstate 5 while the pickup was preparing to exit on Pershing Avenue. The truck driver managed to maneuver out of the vehicle and to safety but did go to an area hospital for treatment. That area of Interstate 5 was closed for some time as emergency personnel worked to remove the truck.
A truck driver died in a similar incident in Stockton three years ago when his semi careened off an Interstate 5 bridge and fell 60 feet after colliding with a wood chipper.