Aubree Hardy, 5, and her parents Rachel Miller, 27, and Aaron Hardy, 25, died after the minivan in which they were traveling in was struck from behind by a semi-truck, pushing it into the trailer of another big rig. According to a news report in the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, the minivan was stopped for traffic on the 10 Freeway in Ontario on the morning of June 16th. Witnesses said the driver of the big rig that rear-ended the minivan was traveling at about 60 mph in heavy traffic with no indication that he applied the brakes before impact.
The semi-truck pushed the 2002 Chrysler Voyager into the trailer of another big rig it was behind. Ontario firefighters declared all three dead at the scene. The driver of the semi that struck the minivan, a Van Nuys man, was transported to a regional hospital with what were described as moderate injuries. Officials said that cell phone distraction or drug or alcohol use were not factors in the crash.
The semi-truck driver told CHP investigators that he thought he had hit the back of another semi-tractor trailer rig and did not even realize there was a minivan between the two. The crash is under investigation and investigators have up to a year to decide if they will file criminal charges with the District Attorney’s office.
We offer our deepest condolences to the Hardy family for their utterly devastating loss. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
What Caused This Fatal Crash?
Based on this news report, it is still unclear as to how or why this tragic truck accident took place. While officials have said, based on their preliminary investigation that distracted or impaired driving did not play a part, there are still other questions. Was the driver of the semi-truck traveling at a high rate of speed given the traffic conditions at the time? Based on what a witness said, he was traveling at about 60 mph when traffic in front was stopped.
We trust that investigators are also looking into whether the truck driver fell asleep at the wheel right before he rear-ended the minivan carrying the victims. It is interesting to note that the truck driver told investigators that he did not even see or realize that there was a minivan until later.
When truck drivers are determined to have been negligent or careless, both the driver and his employer can be held financially responsible for the injuries, damages and losses caused. In such cases, families of crash victims would be well advised to seek the counsel of an experienced San Bernardino truck accident lawyer who will stay on top of the official investigation and ensure that their legal rights and best interests are protected.