Articles Posted in Truck Accidents

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Josh Sablan, a 19-year-old Visalia resident, suffered major injuries in an October 27, 2008 pickup versus big rig accident northwest of Tulare, the Visalia Times-Delta reports. Sablan was westbound on Avenue 248 near Road 68 when he tried to pass another vehicle. Sablan then struck the International big rig head-on. The truck was traveling east on Avenue 248, California Highway Patrol officials said.

The driver of the big rig, 39-year-old Stanley Gumm Jr., told CHP officials that he tried to swerve out of the way of Sablan’s 2006 GMC Sierra pickup truck, but couldn’t do so in time to avoid the 10/27/08 crash. Both drivers were apparently observing the 55 mph speed limit on that highway. Sablan was taken to a Fresno area hospital with critical injuries.
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A jury in Fresno has awarded 57-year-old Maria Blanca Lopez and her family $10.5 million for injuries she suffered in a Fresno big rig accident caused by an intoxicated truck driver on June 9, 2007. According to a news report in the Fresno Bee, Lopez suffered severe brain injuries in the 06/09/07 crash. Jesus Chavez Ramirez, an employee for DAV Charities, ran a stop sign and broadsided Lopez’s car at the intersection of Church and Valentine avenues. He was on the job at the time and had a blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent, which is the legal limit in California.

According to court documents, Ramirez had been drinking the night before the accident and was still drunk when he arrived at work. Despite being intoxicated, he was still allowed to operate the 20,000-pound dump truck. Ramirez pleaded guilty to drunk driving in November 2007 and was sentenced to one year in jail.
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Charles Lowe, 53, of Oxnard died in a fatal Ventura truck accident on Highway 101 after his vehicle collided with a tractor-trailer, the Ventura County Star reports . Lowe was reportedly traveling north on the freeway near East Main, when he hit a tractor trailer in the right lane, California Highway Patrol officials said. The motorcycle flipped on to its side and threw Lowe into the road. The driver of the big rig, 27-year-old Javier Tamayo, was reportedly uninjured.

I offer my deepest condolences to Lowe’s family and Charles’ friends for their enormous loss.

Motorcycle accidents have been steadily climbing especially in states such as California and Florida where their popularity is ever-increasing. In 2006 there were 11 motorcycle accident fatalities and 224 reported injuries from motorcycle accidents in Ventura County alone, according to the California Highway Patrol’s motorcycle accident statistics.
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Nine people were injured after two vehicles collided with an out-of-control cement truck on Laguna Canyon Road at the 73 Toll Road interchange. According to an article in the Laguna Beach Coastline Pilot. Thankfully none of the injured suffered life-threatening injuries. The Laguna Beach truck accident occurred when the cement truck, which was three-quarters full of cement, careened down the southbound exit ramp as its brakes failed and collided with the two passenger vehicles.

There is no question that overloaded trucks have an increased propensity to be involved in accidents primarily because the heavier a truck gets, the harder it becomes for it to stop quickly. It is also more likely to lose control, as with the cement truck in this Laguna Beach big rig accident. Given the size and weight of this cement truck, it is fortunate that victims of the crash did not suffer fatal injuries.

Increased weight in large trucks causes greater stress on the truck’s parts and could lead to mechanical malfunctions such as brake failure. It could also put the vehicle out of balance especially if it is traveling downhill, on a ramp or in windy conditions. Trucking companies know the dangers of overloading, but they continue to do it so they can transport more. However, it is also illegal.
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A Santa Ana big rig accident at the four-way stop intersection of Saint Andrew Place and Poplar Street has killed a 14-year-old boy riding his bike in the crosswalk, according to a news article in The Orange County Register.

Santa Ana police Cpl. Jose Gonzalez said Santa Ana resident Pedro Martinez, 51, was headed west on Saint Andrew Place in a big rig tractor when he hit Esteban Nunez. Nunez reportedly was riding his bicycle southbound in the northbound lane of Poplar and had entered the street intersection without stopping at the stop sign. The boy, a resident of that neighborhood, was not wearing a helmet when he was hit by the moving big rig and dragged under. He was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident.

This is such a tragic and heart wrenching accident. Please keep the boy and his family in your prayers.

The Insurance Institute For Highway Safety (IIHS) estimates that 770 bicyclists were killed in crashes with motor vehicles in 2006. The most serious injuries among the majority of those killed are to the head, highlighting the importance of wearing a bicycle helmet. In Santa Ana there were four bicyclist fatalities and 107 injuries in 2006. This data comes from the California Highway Patrol.
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A San Bernardino County semi truck accident on Interstate 15 near Devore has critically injured a man who was apparently run over by his own car after it was hit by a large truck on Wednesday, June 25th, according to a news article in The Press-Enterprise.

California Highway Patrol Officer Charles Murray, said the accident happened on the northbound side of the Interstate 15 freeway near Glen Helen Road. The driver of a disabled car had gotten out and pushed it backwards from the shoulder to get to an off-ramp. He had ended up in the slow lane of the freeway when a semi truck struck the car from behind, catching him under its trailer. The truck then dragged the car before hitting the center median of the freeway.

The unidentified driver of the compact car was taken to Arrowhead Regional Medical Center with major injuries. The semi truck driver had pain complaints and was treated at the scene.

San Bernardino County suffers about twice as many large truck injury accidents than the statewide average, based upon population. In 2006 California experienced 7,307 large truck injury accidents, compared to 703 for San Bernardino County. I attribute the number of large truck injury accidents in San Bernardino to its size and heavy truck traffic compared to its relatively small population for its geographical size. These statistics are from the California Highway Patrol.
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A Los Angeles car-postal truck collision near the intersection of Hyperion and Lyric Avenue killed a mail carrier recently, according to a report in The Press Telegram.

Los Angeles police Officer Sara Faden said Downey resident Maria F. Gutierrez, 30, was in her postal truck going south on Hyperion when a car going east on Lyric Avenue ran into the truck’s right rear, causing it to overturn. Gutierrez was ejected and the truck rolled-over, crushing her. The three passengers of the other car were unhurt while its driver was taken to a hospital with minor injuries.

My deepest condolences to the Gutierrez family and the friends of Maria Gutierrez. Remember Maria was on the streets delivering mail, serving all of us when this fatal Los Angeles truck accident happened.

California suffered 1,293 light truck accident fatalities in 2006. Of that number 66 fatalities occured in Los Angeles according to the California Highway Patrol statistics.
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Julio Alas, 42 of Norwalk was killed and his passenger, 40-year-old Salvador Pena of Los Angeles, suffered serious injuries in a fiery big-rig rollover accident on the 60 Freeway in the City of Industry on July 4th according to the Pasadena Star News. The fatal truck accident occurred east of Fairway Drive, according to California Highway Patrol Officer D. Hogge.

Alas was driving his big-rig in the No. 3 lane when a 1991 Toyota pickup truck driven by 47-year-old May Figueroa of La Puenta suddenly made an unsafe turning movement directly into the path of Alas’ big-rig. While Figueroa and her passenger, Antoinette Monroy, 49, of La Puente, only suffered minor injuries, the big rig caught on fire. Figueroa is being held in lieu of $100,000 bail although it is not clear on what charges she is being held.

My condolences go to the family and friends of Mr. Alas. It appears that the truck accident was not his fault and that he was simply at the wrong place at the wrong time. His family and Salvador Pena have substantial workers’ compensation rights as well as “third party” rights against the driver of the Toyota, assuming that Figueroa is responsible for this accident.
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Susan Cameron of Irvine was injured in an auto collision when her car was hit by a truck in Newport Beach at the intersection of Bristol and Birch streets. According to The Orange County Register.

A truck eastbound on Bristol Street and driven by Los Angeles resident Alejandro Ceja was unable to stop at the intersection’s red light as its brakes failed, hitting Cameron’s Corvette. Ceja was not injured in the crash.

My sympathies are with the injured in this car crash and I’m thankful there was no loss of life. The police investigation and the accident report will, of course, throw some light on how this accident happened and if Ceja’s account of the brake failure holds.

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An auto accident that happened at Jefferson Street near Evans Street in Riverside last Saturday killed Robert Robinson, 21 and an unidentified 18-year old male, according to The Press Telegram report posted on the Web.

The Dodge Ram pickup involved in the truck crash is believed to have rammed into a tree after having gone airborne crossing a railroad track. The truck wreck also injured four others, two of them seriously and putting the others including the driver, in intensive care. According to Riverside Police department spokesman Steven Frasher, the pickup truck was doing 55 to 60 mph at the time it crossed the tracks.

A later CBS report identified the teen who died in the Saturday night crash south of the 91 Freeway as John Magula, 18, of Riverside.

I feel deeply for the victims’ families, for their loss and for the young people who are affected by this tragic auto accident. From the news report it appears the truck was going too fast as it went across the railroad crossing, but it is also very possible that there were other factors that caused or contributed to this crash. In addition to the information from the official accident investigation report, an independent investigation is recommended, as it will pursue all avenues to help determine exactly who or what was responsible. If I were a family member I’d press to understand what exactly caused this accident.
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