In the last few days, the state of California has seen a number of fatal big rig crashes, including one on Sunday morning in Indio, California that could have been prevented. The Indio big rig accident left one person dead and another with injuries. Days earlier, accidents in Modesto and Richmond claimed two lives.
Indio Big Rig Accident Kills Woman, Another Hospitalized
February 7, 2016
A Palm Desert woman was killed and another person was taken to an area hospital early Sunday morning in a big rig accident in Indio, California. The Indio big rig accident was reported at around 7:00 a.m. on the eastbound side of Interstate 10 near the Jefferson Street off ramp.
According to an official with the California Highway Patrol, a white Volkswagen Jetta had overturned on the Interstate at around 6:45 a.m. after colliding with concrete dividers in place for the Jefferson Street interchange improvement project. The occupants of the Jetta, 56-year-old Maria Vera and an unnamed relative, sustained minor injuries in the initial accident.
The California Highway Patrol arrived at the scene of the crash to find Maria Vera unable to exit the vehicle—her leg was pinned in the wreckage. Two officers worked to free Vera while another officer talked to her.
Two lanes were closed using road cones and an officer was directing traffic several yards away from the overturned vehicle when a big rig approached the scene. The officer directing traffic yelled to those at the crash site just before the big rig plowed into the passenger vehicle, pushing it roughly 100 yards down the Interstate with Vera still inside. The officers assisting Vera, along with the relative, were narrowly able to avoid being hit by the big rig.
A preliminary investigation into the Indio big rig accident showed that the truck was going roughly 50 miles-per-hour just before it collided with the Jetta.
Maria Vera was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident, leaving behind two sons, two daughters, and several grandchildren. A devoted mother, Vera also worked as a caregiver, according to friends.
“Family was basically all she did,” said family friend Valerie Alejos. “It’s a very hard, hard loss for the family. They’re not doing good at all.” A GoFundMe page has been set up on behalf of the Vera family to help cover burial and funeral expenses.
The truck driver, who was uninjured, was detained following the Indio big rig accident. He claimed he did not see the accident site prior to the collision. One of the CHP officers at the scene told the Desert Sun the lane closure was properly marked and traffic flowed smoothly for roughly 20 minutes before the fatal accident.
Vera’s unidentified relative was taken to an area hospital with minor injuries. Interstate 10 remained closed for hours after the accident, so the scene could be cleared.
The Indio big rig accident is being investigated for reckless driving.
Richmond Motorcyclist Killed After Collision With Dump Truck
February 5, 2016
A motorcyclist was killed Friday morning in a collision with a dump truck. The fatal accident was reported at around 8:12 a.m. at the intersection of Cutting Boulevard at South 13th Street in Richmond, California.
Officials say the dump truck was attempting to make a left turn onto Cutting from S. 13th when 28-year-old motorcyclist Aaron Randle collided with the truck. The impact knocked Randle off of his motorcycle, according to a local law enforcement official.
Emergency responders arrived at the scene and immediately started working on Randle, performing life-saving measures, but there was nothing that could be done. The Richmond man was pronounced dead at the scene.
According to the Richmond Standard, the dump truck driver remained at the scene following the accident and is reportedly cooperating with the investigation.
Motorcyclists are so often killed in crashes because motorcycles themselves provide little to no protection in a collision. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), approximately 80 percent of motorcycle crashes result in injury or death. For comparison, the statistic for the occupants of automobiles is roughly 20 percent.
Bicyclist Killed in Modesto After Being Struck by a Big Rig
February 5, 2016
A bicyclist was struck and killed by a big rig on Friday. The fatal accident happened at the intersection of Ninth Street and D Street in Modesto, California.
Local authorities say the bicyclist, a 53-year-old man, was unresponsive when he was rushed to Doctors Medical Center. The unidentified man was later pronounced dead of his injuries.
Authorities are uncertain of what circumstances led to the fatal accident. Modesto Police Sergeant Tom Ciccarelli told the Modesto Bee that it is too early to say for certain who was at fault in the accident. An investigation is ongoing.