Sang Kyung Oh, a 38-year-old San Jose woman, was killed in a big rig accident on a Mojave Desert highway on November 30, 2008. According to this news report in the San Jose Mercury News, Oh was a riding in a 2008 Kia Spectra westbound on Highway 58 in San Bernardino County near Kramer Junction. A semi truck that failed to brake in response to slowing traffic crashed into the back of the car, pushing it into the eastbound lanes at which time it was broadsided by an eastbound semi truck.
Oh was pronounced dead at the scene, California Highway Patrol officials said. The Kia’s driver, a 29-year-old man, suffered serious, but non-life threatening injuries. No one else was injured in this fatal big rig crash.
I offer my deepest condolences to the family of Sang Kyung Oh. My heart goes out to the driver of the Kia, who was severely injured. I wish him the very best for a speedy and complete recovery. Please keep these victims and their families in your prayers.
According to the Department of Transportation’s statistics, there were 394 fatal accidents in California in 2006 alone and more than 10,000 injury accidents involving large commercial trucks. In the United States, there were 4,584 big rig accident fatalities during that same period.
Based on this newspaper report, it appears that the driver of the semi truck failed to slow down with the rest of the traffic on the highway. If that was the case, both the truck driver and his or her employer could be held liable for the accident, injuries and death that resulted from the crash. This particular accident could have happened because the driver was careless and didn’t bother to slow down. The semi truck’s brakes could have failed. The truck driver may have been too exhausted and fallen asleep at the wheel or he or she could have been distracted. All of these are in fact the most common causes for big rig accidents in the United States.
Sang Kyung Oh’s family would be well-advised to contact an experienced California truck accident attorney who will help determine how and why this tragic accident occurred and who should be held responsible for it. If this occurred because of driver error, negligence, lack of proper maintenance of the truck, overloading the big rig or driving at unsafe speeds, then the truck driver will likely face criminal manslaughter charges. Both the driver and the trucking company should then be held financially responsible for the accident and injuries caused to the driver of the Kia and for the death of Sang Kyung Oh.