California is once again making headlines for the plethora of semi-truck crashes that take place across the state. In one of the most recent accidents, a motorcyclist was left dead after being hit by a semi-truck that was making an unsafe lane change; the truck driver fled the scene. Truck accidents in the state, which is notorious for such incidents, have occurred almost daily, particularly with the start of the busy summer travel season and the holiday weekend.
Police Continue Search for San Pablo Truck Crash Driver
July 3, 2017
A 35-year-old Fairfield, California, man is dead after a semi-truck hit the motorcycle he was riding, throwing him from his bike. The accident occurred at approximately 6:22 a.m. on westbound Interstate Highway 80 near El Portal Drive in San Pablo.
California Highway Patrol (CHP) Officer Matthew Hamer says witnesses described seeing a semi-truck with a yellow cab and white trailer make an unsafe lane change before hitting motorcyclist Nicholas Brown. The impact from being hit by the semi-truck forced Brown into another vehicle before he was ejected from the motorcycle and onto the roadway. Brown was pronounced dead at the scene. Officials reopened that section of the highway a little over an hour after the crash at 7:55 a.m.
Witnesses also recounted the truck driver pulling over for approximately four to five minutes before re-entering the truck and driving away.
Officials began to hunt for the hit-and-run big rig driver after the San Pablo truck crash, but have yet to identify the suspect. CHP did pull over a semi-truck that matched the description given by witnesses but determined it was not the driver in question.
A separate fatal car accident occurred in the same area at 4:05 a.m. that morning, but officials have not cited any potential links between the crashes.
The CHP is asking anyone with information on the San Pablo truck crash to call the CHP Oakland office at 510-450-3821.
Two Men Killed in Guadalupe Collision with Semi
July 3, 2017
The same day as the San Pablo truck crash, two men in their 20s were killed when they collided with a parked big rig.
The CHP says that the Guadalupe crash occurred a little before 7:00 p.m. on Brown Road. Twenty-two-year-old Juventino Olivera-Pastor was driving the Saturn sedan involved in the accident with 21-year-old Edwin Sanchez-Salaz as his passenger. The men were traveling east when Olivera-Pastor sped through a stop sign and then traversed the train tracks, ultimately slamming into a parked semi-truck.
“Because of the speed, the vehicle lost control, spun out of control, struck the back of a parked big rig trailer and the impact caused two fatalities in that vehicle,” CHP Sgt. Charles Hoops said in an interview with Noozhawk.com. Accident investigators have since determined that Olivera-Pastor’s vehicle became airborne as he crossed the train tracks.
Images from the Guadalupe truck crash scene show the Saturn sedan turned sideways and almost completely wedged underneath the semi-truck, with extensive visible damage. Such collisions, known as underride crashes, have a reputation for being especially dangerous, as well as being potentially preventable. Both Olivera-Pastor and Sanchez-Salaz were pronounced dead at the scene, and officials have revealed that Sanchez-Salaz was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash. The driver of the parked semi-truck was unharmed in the crash and, despite being parked, was wearing his seatbelt when his vehicle was hit.
CHP began investigating the incident immediately following the crash. They believe that security cameras at a nearby packing plant may have captured video of the accident. Drugs and/or alcohol are also being considered as factors in the truck crash.
Overturned Semi-Truck Closes State Route 78 for Hours
July 3, 2017
A third accident on the same day of the San Pablo truck crash occurred in the Ramona area of San Diego, but was not fatal.
Highway crews spent most of the day cleaning up an oil/diesel spill after a semi-truck hauling grain lost control and overturned while traveling eastbound in the SR-78 and Ramona Trails Drive area. The driver of the big rig, which was carrying approximately 48,000 pounds of grain to an egg farm in the area, lost control of the vehicle for unknown reasons and it overturned, blocking both lanes.
CHP estimated the time of the accident as 8:20 a.m. and predicted that the highway would be re-opened by 11:15 a.m., but as officials worked to right the semi-truck they discovered the task was more challenging than expected.
“It’s a heavy vehicle, fully loaded, so it’s not easy to upright,” CHP Officer Jim Foote commented.
Crews were not able to remove the big rig until 3:20 p.m. Traffic was rerouted for the majority of the day.
The unnamed driver, a 20-year-old man from Perris, sustained moderate injuries in the truck crash and was treated at Palomar Medical Center Escondido.
Crashed Semi-Truck Catches Fire on I-15 Near Mira Mesa
July 6, 2017
Another traffic-producing, but not fatal semi-truck incident took place three days after the San Pablo truck crash, not far from the overturned truck accident on State Route 78.
That semi-truck driver was traveling south on Interstate 15 near Mira Mesa when, according to CHP, he lost control of the vehicle for unknown reasons and slammed into the cement HOV divider. The truck subsequently caught fire but no other vehicles were involved.
The driver, a 39-year-old Rialto man, escaped the truck before the fire started and was treated for minor injuries at the scene. An investigation into the crash is underway.