Joe Michael Rowan, 50, of Oxnard suffered severe injuries after the Honda Element he was driving crashed trying to avoid debris from an earlier big rig accident on the southbound 101 Freeway in Camarillo, according to the Ventura County Star news report. The accident occurred the morning of January 17, 2009 when a big rig driven by 53-year-old Prisciliano Gonzalez veered off the road and into a 12,000-pound freeway sign. The big rig driver drifted off the right shoulder of the freeway for an unknown reason, California Highway Patrol officials said.
Gonzalez plowed into 75 feet of guardrail before he hit the sign. The truck’s cab split into two and ripped away from the tractor. Gonzalez was taken to an area hospital where he is listed in critical condition. The collision scattered debris all over the freeway including crates of carrots the truck was carrying, debris from the big rig and parts of the damaged guardrail.
Minutes after the big rig crashed, Rowan, who swerved to avoid the big rig, lost control of his Honda Element and went off the road. He was apparently found bleeding from the face and head and was taken to the hospital as well. The tractor-trailer that crashed was owned by Jet Trucking of Greenfield. There were several other accidents because of the debris and the chaotic traffic, but it is not known if anyone else was seriously injured in those incidents.
This is obviously a horrific crash caused by a possibly negligent California big rig driver. I wish Joe Michael Rowan the very best for a quick and complete recovery. I sincerely hope he did not suffer major injuries in what was clearly a catastrophic big rig accident. It’s a miracle that more people were not hurt given the dangerous condition this accident created on the freeway.
This big rig crash could have happened because of a variety of reasons. The big rig driver may have fallen asleep at the wheel and drifted off the freeway. Tired truckers who drive way longer hours than they should are a major reason for some of the most tragic truck accidents we see on our roadways. The truck may have been overloaded, which may have caused the brakes to fail and the driver to lose control. Numerous accidents have also occurred because of mechanical malfunction due to lack of vehicle maintenance.
Whatever the reason this truck accident occurred, the injured victims in this case would be well-advised to contact an experienced Southern California big rig accident attorney, who will hold the negligent parties responsible. If the CHP investigation determines that this accident was caused by the truck driver’s negligence, then both the driver and the trucking company could be held liable.