Truck Driver Ran Red Light Before the Fatal Truck Crash
At approximately 5:00 p.m. on June 27, 2016, Elpidia Willie was helping her daughter out – something she routinely did for her family. Mrs. Willie was driving her 2001 Hyundai Elantra to pick up her granddaughter from school as she did every school day.
As she drove reasonably and carefully northbound on San Gabriel Boulevard, Mrs. Willie applied the brakes as she approached the intersection with Potrero Grande Drive, because the traffic light was red.
While she was in the process of braking, her traffic light turned green so she took her foot off the brake and proceeded forward toward the intersection. By the time Mrs. Willie entered the intersection, the northbound traffic light had been green for approximately four seconds.
At around the same time, Jose Anibar Rivas was driving eastbound on Potrero Grande Drive in a Sterling tanker truck, transporting approximately 1,800 gallons of cooking oil on behalf of Imperial Western Products, Inc.
Still quite a distance away from the intersection with San Gabriel Boulevard, Rivas may have seen a green light that had remained green for some time. A reasonable and safe commercial truck driver is trained to react to such a stale green light by slowing and preparing to stop in anticipation of the light changing to yellow.
Rivas did not slow down. Instead, he continued to drive at a high rate of speed toward the intersection. Even as the light changed from green to yellow and remained yellow for up to five seconds and then turned red and remained red for several more seconds, he continued to drive at a high rate of speed into the intersection without braking.
Rivas’ truck entered the intersection and slammed broadside into Mrs. Willie’s vehicle. The force of the crash propelled Mrs. Willie’s vehicle across the entire intersection and into a concrete light pole on the far side of Potrero Grande Drive. Mrs. Willie, a mother of three and a grandmother, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Video Puts the Lie to Any Claim the Truck Didn’t Run the Red Light Regarding the Rosemead Truck Accident
The entire tragic incident unfolded before witnesses who told authorities that Rivas ran a red light at the intersection. A Montebello Bus Lines municipal bus driving behind Mrs. Willie’s vehicle was equipped with a surveillance camera, which captured the full event.
The video shows Rivas enter the intersection on a red light, well after the light had turned green for Mrs. Willie. In fact, it appears that Rivas did not even attempt to brake or slow down as he entered the intersection.
In his police statement, Rivas pointed the finger at Mrs. Willie by falsely claiming that she ran a red light and that she was speeding. However, following a review of the investigation, statements by eyewitnesses and the images from the surveillance video footage of the accident, liability for the truck crash is unquestionable.
According to the Temple City Sheriff’s Department and California Highway Patrol’s findings, Rivas caused the collision by driving against a red light, a violation of Vehicle Code §21453, which provides, in part: “(a) A driver facing a steady circular red signal alone shall stop at a marked limit line . . .”
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