A seven-vehicle auto accident in San Luis Obispo on State Route 166 caused by a driver who made an unsafe pass, left one person dead and several others injured, according to this KSBY news report. The multi-vehicle crash occurred the evening of March 6, 2009 near Tepesquet Road when a pickup truck and two semi trucks collided, causing the big rigs to burst into flames. California Highway Patrol officials said the driver of the pickup crossed a double yellow line and tried to pass two semi trucks, but slammed head on into another semi truck traveling in the opposite direction. The driver of that semi truck died in the accident after his rig’s gas tank ruptured and caught fire.
CHP traffic investigators say the pickup hit a total of six vehicles – three semis and three cars. Miraculously, five of the seven drivers escaped with minor injuries. The driver of the pickup truck, who caused this fatal auto accident, was hospitalized with injuries. Caltrans and CHP officials say they recently spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on safety improvements on Highway 166 to prevent these types of accidents, but they say it won’t work if drivers continue to break basic traffic rules. This pickup driver crossed double yellow lines on a curve.
My heart goes out to all the injured victims, and especially to the family and friends of the truck driver who was killed in this accident. I offer my deepest condolences to everybody who knew and loved this man. I also wish all the injured victims the very best for a quick and complete recovery – both physically and emotionally.
There is no question here, based on this news report, that the driver of the pickup truck should be held responsible for causing this crash, injuries and the truck driver’s death. It is against California Vehicle Code to pass another vehicle by crossing a double yellow line. It is not clear whether this pickup truck driver was operating under the influence. Whatever the reason for his recklessness, he drove his vehicle with callous disregard for himself and other motorists on the highway. He should be held civilly and criminally responsible for this accident.
The family of the fatally injured truck driver should certainly consult with an experienced California auto accident attorney who will make sure that the negligent parties are held accountable for their actions. A skilled personal injury lawyer will also determine whether there was a dangerous condition on that roadway that may have played a part in this accident. If that was the case, then Caltrans or the governmental agency responsible for maintaining that highway could be held partially liable. Any claim against a governmental agency in California must be filed within six months of the accident.