A shocking Sunday morning crash that occurred when a semi-truck drove into a Fullerton, California apartment building is still being investigated as the families involved remain unable to return home and several people recover from their resulting injuries, which were not as catastrophic as many injuries seen in truck crashes. Further north, another semi-truck crash on the same day killed one person and injured three near San Luis Obispo. A day prior, a crash involving a big rig in Newbury Park left fuel spilled across southbound lanes and temporarily closed a portion of Highway 101. Officials are investigating all three accidents to determine what factors led to the truck crashes.
Fullerton Truck Accident Hits Apartment Building
April 30, 2017
The residents of a two-story apartment building in the 600 block of Imperial Highway in Fullerton were awakened early on Sunday, April 30, 2017, by something both strange and terrifying: An 18-wheeler had veered from Imperial Highway and slammed into the wall of the complex, wedging the cab of the truck into the wall of the building and creating chaos within.
According to police, the Fullerton truck accident was reported at approximately 6:03 a.m. Officials say that an initial investigation shows the semi-truck driver was traveling east and following the posted speed limit before he suddenly veered right, hit the curb and came crashing into the apartment building. The driver’s reason for the sudden turn, however, is unknown.
Two apartments inside the complex were directly damaged in the accident, but officials believed the effects from the Fullerton truck accident extended to other units in the building.
“A total of five apartments in the complex were evacuated and they have been deemed uninhabitable due to safety concerns,” Fullerton police Sgt. Jon Radus said in a statement. A total of nine adults and seven children have been displaced as a result.
Family Awoken by Semi-Truck Slamming into Apartment
The Estrada family lives on the second floor of the complex and it was their home that the big rig hit as it collided with the building. Forty-year-old Josefina Estrada was asleep when the truck crash occurred and initially thought it was an earthquake. Drywall from the apartment fell on Estrada, bruising her right side and trapping her underneath the debris. It was her 18-year-old son Cristian, who helped free her and ensure that his 2-year-old sister Crystal, who was sleeping in the room with his mother, was safe.
Two other siblings live in the apartment: A 13-year-old sister named Adilene Estrada and a 16-year-old brother named Jesus Estrada. The corner of the apartment where Jesus slept was destroyed by the semi-truck, but—in a fateful turn of events—Jesus had spent Saturday night at a cousin’s house.
“I wouldn’t be talking to you right now if I had slept in my own bed,” Jesus said in an interview with the OC Register.
While Josefina Estrada was treated for her bruising at the accident scene, three neighboring residents required hospitalization. A 40-year-old man, a 40-year-old woman, and the couple’s two-year-old daughter were all taken to a hospital with minor injuries.
Kathy Schaefer, division chief for the Fullerton Fire Department, emphasized to the OC Register just how lucky the apartment residents were.”It’s a miracle that no one inside the building was seriously hurt,” Schaefer said.
Semi-Truck Driver and Passenger Hospitalized with Serious Injuries
The semi-truck driver (a 44-year-old man) and his 42-year-old female passenger were both taken to UCI Medical Center with serious injuries.
A resident of the apartment complex, Andy Castro-Aguilera, was the first to check on the driver, after thinking he had heard a traffic collision on the street. Upon discovering the semi-truck driver lying unconscious outside of the big rig, Castro-Aguilera checked his pulse and vitals before the driver opened his eyes and asked, “Where’s my girlfriend?”
Fullerton Truck Accident Investigation Ongoing
The Volvo tractor-trailer remained lodged inside the complex as officials worked to secure the building. An investigation into the truck crash is ongoing and officials are asking anyone with information to contact Fullerton Police Accident Investigator Corporal S. Bailor at 714-738-6813.
Woman Killed in Semi-Truck Crash on Highway 46
April 30, 2017
The same day as the Fullerton truck accident, a collision between a passenger vehicle and a big rig turned fatal near Cholame, California.
Michelle E. Saunders, a 71-year-old resident of Seaside, California, was driving a 2012 Mazda east on Highway 46 at approximately 3:30 p.m. when she crossed the center line and veered into the westbound lanes and into the path of an oncoming tanker truck. The driver of the semi-truck, 61-year-old Eduardo Calderon, swerved to avoid Saunders but the truck and car still collided. The force of the impact was enough to send the Mazda back into the eastbound lanes and cause a second collision between it and a 2014 Toyota, driven by 46-year-old Leticia Lopez.
The trailer Calderon was hauling, which contained about 8,000 gallons of hot oil, detached during the accident, and rolled down an embankment alongside the road.
Saunders was pronounced dead at the accident scene, and Calderon and Lopez, as well as Calderon’s passenger in his tanker truck, all sustained minor injuries. California Highway Patrol (CHP) kept sections of Highway 46 in both directions closed late into the evening as officials investigated the accident.
Big Rig Spills Fuel, Closing 101 for Hours in Newbury Park
April 29, 2017
One day before the semi-truck accidents in Fullerton and Cholame, a big rig spilled fuel across Highway 101, closing the freeway for several hours in the early morning of Saturday, April 29, 2017.
The accident occurred around 12:36 a.m. under the Borchard Road overpass in Newbury Park. The semi-truck, which was traveling south, spilled diesel fuel from its tank onto the road after the crash. While one person was taken to the hospital with minor injuries, Caltrans assisted CHP in detouring all southbound traffic from the Borchard Road off-ramp and cleaning up the spilled fuel.
As of 5:07 a.m., the freeway had been reopened.
Truck Crash Attorney
If you or a loved one was injured in a truck crash, contact Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman. Our experienced truck crash attorneys are available to review your case and discuss your legal options.