Articles Posted in Trucking Accidents

A lawsuit was filed against a big-rig driver and his employer after the death of a 47-year-old cyclist. The complaint alleges that the driver, Gabriel Vera, was driving the truck negligently when he struck cyclist Lauren Perdriau Ward. According to news accounts, this is the third fatal accident Vera has been involved while working.

Interestingly, a CHP investigation into the accident concluded that Ward and not Vera, was responsible for the accident, finding that Ward made an unsafe turn into the bath of the truck.

Earlier this year, Vera and Randazzo Enterprises, his employer, paid $1.5 million to settle a different wrongful death lawsuit involving Vera. The investigation report into that accident also found that Vera was not at fault (but lawyers must have proven otherwise). Ward’s family intends to the same.

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An empty dump truck ran a red light on Monday and broadsided a small compact car, seriously injuring the woman driving the car. The accident occurred at SR-163 off-ramp to Kearny Villa Road.

According to witnesses, the woman entered the intersection on a green light, when the dump truck flew through the intersection, running the red light. The victim, 39, was taken to the hospital with serious injuries.

News reports do not state whether the dump truck driver was cited in the accident, or what may have been the cause. In these accidents, it is usually the inattentive and negligent driving on the part of the truck driver. The other, less likely cause, is some defect in the truck.

There is a great story in the L.A. Times today about an out-of-work and homeless plumber named Stephen Schulman who was run over by a large delivery truck while sleeping near a dumpster. His legs were crushed, and in a great scene, he checks himself out of the nursing home where he is recuperating and spends a day, riding busses, and limping across Los Angeles County to confront the trucking company owner about his injuries:

He climbed the concrete steps into a bungalow office. Sweat poured down his frame, slight but for his potbelly. His wounded foot felt like it might give out, but this was his moment, the one he had been waiting for. He faced the company owner.

“One of your truck drivers ran me over,” he said.

A cab driver and his passenger were nearly crushed this morning when a 25-ton steel pipe rolled of a commercial truck and fell off a freeway overpass, landing on the unsuspecting taxi driver and his passenger.

According to news reports, the large pipe, which measured 25-feet long and 8 feet in diameter, was being transported to a local dam project. The truck carrying the pipe lost control on the interchange from SR-125 to eastbound I-8, and struck the barrier wall. The impact with the wall caused the huge pipe to break free and roll over the bridge, dropping 75 feet on top of the cab.

Inside the taxi was its 47-year-old driver and a 73-year-old passenger. The two were taken to local hospitals with undisclosed injures, but both are expected to survive…amazingly.

A big rig truck crashed on eastbound Interstate 8 last night, claiming the lives of the driver and his passenger. According to witnesses, the truck was traveling down a fairly steep decline under the speed limit when, for reasons unknown, drifted to the right shoulder and slammed into the dirt slope on the side of the road. The truck burst into flames upon impact, killing the occupants immediately.

The cause of the accident is currently under investigation, and it is still unclear if the accident was caused by driver negligence or whether the truck malfunctioned in some way. Anyone with information about the crash is encouraged to contact the Imperial County office of the California Highway Patrol.



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The driver of a Lexus sedan was killed this morning when his car was crushed by a big rig truck that rolled over on Interstate 5. According to reports, Gustavio Gracia, the driver of the Lexus was transitioning from the I-5 to SR 78 east, when the semi tractor trailer rig rolled over on top of the Lexus. Garcia suffered major head injuries and died at the scene.

The I-5/SR 78 exchange remained closed for five hours as the crash was investigated. The cause of the crash is still unknown, and the 1996 Freightliner will undergo a complete inspection to determine if malfunctioned.

Drugs or alcohol are not believed to have played a role in the big rig crash.

MSNBC is out with an article about the dangers posed by heavy, drowsy truck drivers. Apparently a growing number of trucking firms are screening drivers who are considered at risk for sleep apnea, and then pay to monitor and treat divers who have the condition.

Sleep scientists at Harvard University have renewed a call for federal regulations that requires mandatory testing of all obese drivers. These researches believe that there is a strong link between obese drivers and truck crashes that kill more than 5,200 and injure over than 100,000.

“Screenings of truck drivers will be ineffective unless they are federally mandated or required by employers,” said researcher Dr. Stefanos N. Kales.

Interstate 5 was closed for a period yesterday when a box truck rear-ended a slow-moving big rig in the Camp Pendleton area. The driver of the truck, 49-year-old Henry Wei of Rosmead, was pronounced dead at the scene.

According to witnesses, Wei was traveling at freeway speed when it plowed into the big rig, which was slowing as it approached the Border Patrol inspection station. Witnesses say that there was no evidence that the box truck braked at all before rear-ending the truck ahead. The cab of Wei’s truck was crushed, and it took two hours to remove his body.

That Wei did not brake raises interesting liability questions. Either he was not paying attention to the road in front of him – which is fairly commonplace in this day cell phones and texting – or there was some sort of mechanical problem with his truck, which investigators are looking into. It would be interesting to know the age and maintenance history on the truck Wei was driving to learn if the truck was unable to stop because of mechanical issues.

A tour bus on its way to Colton from San Diego crashed into a freeway median yesterday, critically injuring eight people. According to reports, the bus hit the center divider on the northbound I-215 near Temecula, at the Nuevo Road exit. The bus then crashed through another barrier before coming to rest in the backyard of a private residence.

As many as 45 firefighters responded to the accident, including three helicopters and nine ambulances. Rescuers had to free several passengers who were trapped in the back of the bus, and it took more than an hour to free everyone. The most seriously injured passengers were those riding in the front of the bus.

The tour bus was owned by a charter company called Inland Empire Stages, of Rancho Cucamonga, which, according to records, had two vehicles involved in other crashes over the last 30 months. The cause of the accident is still unknown.

The California Highway Patrol is out with a report today designed to educate drivers on traffic safety when in proximity to a big rig truck. According to the report, of the 7,262 accidents involving commercial trucks last year, 56% were the fault of the driver inside the passenger vehicle, such as a car, pick-up or other non-commercial vehicle.

In Orange County, 616 people were injured in 452 accidents involving big rigs in 2007, including 17 fatalities. In San Diego County, 349 people were injured, with 19 fatalities. And in Riverside, 477 people were injured, including 24 fatalities. To read the full report, click here (.pdf)

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The injury and accident attorneys at Walton Law Firm LLP represent individuals and families throughout Southern California who have suffered due to automobile accidents, work site accidents, defective products, spinal and brain injuries, dog bites, and other accident cases. Call (866) 607-1325 or complete our online form for a free and confidential consultation.

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