The holiday season has drawn to a close, but it leaves in its wake a string of California truck crashes. California is a state that’s all too familiar with truck accidents: In 2015 (the latest data on record), California had the second most fatal large truck crashes in the country.
Fresno County Truck Crash Occurred in Construction Zone
December 27, 2017
It was just after midnight on Wednesday, December 27, 2017. Some drivers were bound for home after Christmas, and some were traveling in preparation for the New Year’s long weekend ahead. For drivers in Fresno, however, a truck crash involving three separate semi-trucks brought travel plans to a sudden and shocking halt.
The Fresno County crash occurred on Interstate 5 in the Coalinga/Highway 33 area. The late evening traffic had slowed for the construction zone, but a semi-truck driver approaching the area failed to adjust his speed before colliding with an RV and two other semi-trucks.
Doug Einarson was behind the wheel of the RV and recounted the Fresno county truck crash to ABC30.
“I heard this bang. Then everything started falling and debris,” Einarson said. “The lights they kept going on and off. I knew I had been hit. Well, I thought well, I’m toast.”
He knew he had to escape the severely damaged vehicle, but realized that he was stuck inside. Einarson first had to cut through his seatbelt, which had pulled too taut to be released, and then had to kick out his passenger door (both the passenger and driver’s door were pushed shut in the collision).
Einarson managed to walk away from the accident with only minor injuries, but the driver of the semi-truck that slammed into traffic died. A passenger inside that semi-truck was transported to Community Regional Medical Center where he remained in critical condition. Officials have not released statements on the condition of the occupants of the two other tractor-trailers involved in the crash.
California Highway Patrol (CHP) continue to investigate the accident, but do not believe that drugs or alcohol played a role. Truck crashes where semis fail to properly yield to stopped or slowed traffic are common and are part of the reason trucking safety advocates, including the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), continue to push for truck collision avoidance technology. Experts believe the technology could substantially reduce the number of truck accidents in the United States.
Seven People Injured by Delivery Truck in San Francisco
January 1, 2018
San Francisco police continue to investigate an incident in the Richmond District that left two men hospitalized, one with life-threatening injuries.
The incident occurred at Geary Boulevard and 21st Avenue as a delivery truck traveled southbound on 21st Avenue at approximately 3:30 p.m. Police believe that the driver of the delivery truck entered Geary Boulevard against a red light, at which point the vehicle made its way into the crosswalk, striking two pedestrians on the curb and a passenger vehicle that was then pushed into a parked vehicle.
A Cantonese translator was called to the scene to help police interview the unidentified driver of the delivery truck, who eventually told police that he lost control of the vehicle. San Francisco Police Department Sgt. John Bragagnolo confirmed that speed may also have been a factor in the crash and that they are using video surveillance from the scene in the investigation.
“It appears [that the driver was speeding], but we really can’t tell from the video, but we do know, at least we believe, it was against a red light.”
The two pedestrians standing on the curb of the intersection were a 79-year-old man and 66-year-old man. Neither has been identified, and both were hospitalized for treatment of their injuries. The 79-year-old is listed in critical condition after surgery for internal bleeding. The 66-year-old sustained a broken rib and punctured lung.
Heather King was driving the black Mazda that the delivery truck hit, and she had four of her family members inside at the time. King’s first response was to check on her children and then to see if she could assist the injured pedestrians.
“As soon as I looked back and saw that my kids were okay, they weren’t dead, like, I got them out of the car and then I ran over to see the guy that got hit because he flung about 10 to 15 feet,” King said in an interview with ABC7.
Geary Boulevard was closed to eastbound traffic for several hours as police conducted an on-scene investigation and worked to remove debris.
Two Killed in Bakersfield by Runaway Semi
December 21, 2017
The driver of a semi-truck and his passenger were killed in a crash outside of Bakersfield when the big rig they were traveling in went off a runaway truck ramp.
Officials have not released the identities of the deceased individuals (a 42-year-old male driver and 42-year-old female passenger), who were northbound on Interstate 5 in Grapevine when the crash happened at approximately 3:30 a.m.
The tractor-trailer—a 2007 Peterbilt—is believed to have been moving quickly when it swerved onto the runaway truck ramp for unknown reasons and slammed into the gravel mounded there to prevent vehicles from traveling any further. This time, however, the gravel failed to slow the semi, and it collided with an adjacent mountain, killing both inside.
An investigation into the cause of the truck crash is ongoing, but weather is unlikely to be a factor.