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Gilroy crash: Summer’s second major California truck accident

It was only a few weeks ago when this blog featured the story of an out-of-control semi-truck careening through California traffic. A man was killed in the July 10 truck crash on Highway 17, when a tractor-trailer loaded with dirt slammed into several cars. The scenario was not unlike a more recent Bay Area collision in which another person died.

The newest tragedy occurred on Highway 152 in Gilroy, where traffic on the busy Silicon-to-Central Valley route was stopped for a red light. Reports indicated a westbound truck driver couldn't stop in time to avoid a collision with several vehicles. The semi-truck then slammed into more cars in the eastbound lanes, damaging a total of eight.

The truck kept going and snagged up a sedan as the rig left the road. The car was pushed into a field, where both vehicles caught fire. Good Samaritans were able to free the 48-year-old trucker, but the unidentified sedan driver died in the blazing wreckage.

Several people suffered injuries, including three admitted to hospitals with critical injuries. Investigators from the California Highway Patrol don't believe the slightly injured truck driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the massive collision. The truck has not been charged or issued any citations.

Every accident has a reason, whether or not negligence is involved. Truck accident investigations, particularly ones involving severe property damage and multiple victims, can take a substantial amount of time to conclude. The physical evidence uncovered at a commercial truck accident scene can become the basis for criminal charges and liability claims.

The probe doesn't stop there. Defects may be found in the truck's mechanical operations. Safety violations by a vehicle owner or truck company be contributing factors.

The accident scene supplies the outward signs of fault. To get the whole picture, police and liability claim investigators need far more information.

Source: Contra Costa Times, "Gilroy: CHP investigates 8-car rig crash that kills motorist and forced overnight closure of Highway 152" Robert Salonga and Joe Rodriguez, Mercury News, Jul. 22, 201 

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