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Off-Duty Orange County Firefighter Dies After His Toyota Tacoma Veers Off the 241 Toll Road


A 21-year-old off-duty U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service firefighter died in a crash on the 241 toll road north of the 133 in Irvine, a news article in The Orange County Register reports. The off-duty firefighter, identified as Patrick Michael Henning of Rancho Santa Margarita, was found in his 1996 Toyota Tacoma that had reportedly rolled off the shoulder of the freeway.

Henning had died of injuries sustained during the crash when his truck rolled over several times, California Highway Patrol officials told the Register. Officials are not clear what caused the driver to lose control of the truck or what caused it to flip several times. But officials say that it apparently was a single-vehicle crash and no others were involved. CHP officials are looking for witnesses who may have seen the crash occur.

This is one of those crashes that we see occur every day which could have been caused by any number of factors. It likely could have been a mechanical defect in the vehicle. This vehicle model falls within those models which were part of a federal recall. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, Toyota recalled 90,000 1996 Tacoma trucks because of a mechanical defect, which under certain driving conditions, caused the front suspension support to crack leading to failure of the support and causing the driver to lose control of the vehicle.

There are bound to be unanswered questions in these types of accidents. The victim’s family would be well-advised to maintain possession of the vehicle in an unaltered condition until they can retain an auto defect law firm. The vehicle is the main piece of evidence in any auto defect case and preserving it is absolutely important if the cause of the crash is to be determined.

Hiring a reputed auto defect law firm will usually help families of crash victims facilitate a more thorough and independent investigation rather than leaving it to local agencies, that often do not have the time and resources to go into the details of the crash or pinpoint the cause.

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