Chp Report Says Driver Error And Truck Defects To Blame For Santa Clarita Truck Accident

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By Robert Reeves

A California Highway Patrol investigation report into the truck accident near Santa Clarita last year has concluded that the drivers speed played a major part in the crash. The report has also expressed concern over the state of the tractor-trailer at the time of the truck accident, and this, the district attorney fears, could be used by the defense team as the principal cause of the accident.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the CHP investigative team recommended that vehicular manslaughter charges be brought against the truck driver Jose Reyes, but prosecutors have declined. A finding in the report that faults the state of the trucks brakes for the truck accident is being given as the reason for the refusal to press charges against Reyes.

On October 12th, of last year, Reyes was driving his tractor-trailer though the Interstate 5 tunnel when he crashed into a concrete wall. His speed at the time of the crash was 65 mph in what is a 55 mph speed limit zone. The accident blocked much of the tunnel, and many of the trucks that were following Reyes were able to stop in time. However, the slowdown of vehicles led to many more trucks colliding near the exit. In all, thirty-three trucks were involved in the multi-vehicle crash. Some of these burst into flames, trapping truck drivers and motorists inside the tunnel, which soon turned into a blazing inferno. Temperatures shot up to 1500 degrees, and flames touched the tunnel roof. A 6-year-old boy in one of the vehicles survived the accident, but was killed by the flames. Two other people died in the truck crash. The charred remnants of the trucks that were burned affected transportation in the tunnel for over a month.

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The CHP reports mention the speed of the driver as he was navigating the curving road on a slick surface as the main cause of the crash. However, prosecutors are of the opinion that the findings are not conclusive. A defense team could well fault the findings of the report, and come up with simulation data that prove that Reyes was not above the speed limit.

There is also a finding in the report that places the spotlight on the kind of shape the truck was in at the time of the crash. Analysis done on the right front brake of the tractor-trailer revealed that the vehicle was in poor condition. There was a build up of grease around the wheel that could have affected the control that Reyes had over the truck. Such an accumulation of grease would have interfered with the trucks control when the brakes were applied, and the vehicle could have veered to the left, the report found. Thats exactly what happened when Reyes applied the brakes- the truck veered to the left, and smashed into the concrete wall.

Saia Motor Freight Line Inc., the trucking company that owned the truck and was responsible for its maintenance, has refused to accept the CHP reports findings as true. The truck accident occurred because of the dangerous nature of the tunnel, with poor lighting and too many blind curves, a company spokesman has said

Meanwhile, families of the people who were killed or injured in the truck accident are waiting for more conclusive evidence that can pinpoint responsibility in this case. An experienced California truck accident lawyer would be able to conduct independent investigations into the trucking companys maintenance records to verify if the condition of the truck was indeed responsible for the crash.

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