Kenoa Stewart, 36, was killed in a car accident in Hacienda Heights early morning on June 2, 2016 after her vehicle became wedged under the back of a big rig on the 60 Freeway. According to a news report in the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, the crash occurred on the eastbound 60 Freeway just east of Seventh Avenue. California Highway Patrol officials said the woman was driving a 2002 Saturn L100 east in the number three lane.
A 2009 Volvo big rig was traveling directly in front of her. Officials say the Saturn went out of control and became wedged underneath the right rear of the semi-trailer, between the number three and number four lanes. Stewart was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash. The driver of the big rig, a 57-year-old man from La Puente, was uninjured. The crash remains under investigation.
There were 82 fatalities and 4,841 injuries reported as a result of car accidents in the unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County, according to CHP’s 2013 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS). Countywide, 585 people died and 50,917 were injured due to car accidents during the same year.
Truck Underride Crashes
Based on this news report, it appears that Stewart’s vehicle went out of control, hit the back of the big rig and became wedged underneath. These types of crashes where a smaller passenger vehicle becomes trapped under a large truck is known as a truck underride crash.
There are a number of questions in this particular incident? Why did the victim’s vehicle go out of control? Was there some type of vehicle defect or mechanical malfunction in the Saturn that caused or contributed the incident? Did the underride guards in the big rig meet federal standards? Our truck accident attorneys have found that even those guards that meet federal standards are woefully inadequate in when it comes to preventing these types of catastrophic crashes, which often result in deaths.
If the victim’s fatal injuries occurred because of weak or inadequate underride guards, the trucking company or truck owner can be held liable for the woman’s wrongful death. If a vehicle defect in the car caused the Saturn to go out of control and crash, the automaker can also be held liable. Victims’ families in such cases would be well advised to contact an experienced Los Angeles car accident lawyer who has the resources to all aspects of the incident and hold the at-fault parties accountable.