It was early on a weekday morning, a little less than an hour before sunrise. Off to the side of Interstate 5, just south of Bakersfield, a Tranquility man's Jeep Cherokee had run out of gas. A 27-year-old Fresno resident had pulled his car on to the right freeway shoulder to help get the Jeep refueled.
That is when a tractor trailer in the southbound lane came down the highway. Just south of Sabodan Road, the big rig inexplicably veered onto the shoulder -- right where the two men and the two vehicles had pulled over. The tractor-trailer hit both vehicles, with the violent crash leaving the Tranquility man severely injured.
Members of the Kern County Fire Department later pronounced him dead at the scene.
The Fresno man miraculously escaped the mayhem with minor injuries to a leg, a media outlet reported. The truck driver was not injured.
The trucker was reportedly not under the influence of alcohol or drugs, as determined by California Highway Patrol officers. So what caused him to veer off of the interstate at precisely the wrong moment?
Investigators are trying to determine the cause of the fatal truck accident, so we do not yet know exactly what happened and why. But we do know that in similarly devastating collisions, a truck driver will be proven to have been fatigued while behind the wheel.
In other cases, distraction from a cell phone, GPS or other electronic device will be a contributing factor.
Families of truck accident victims can pursue maximum compensation from the driver and his employer by filing a wrongful death lawsuit with the help of an experienced Bakersfield attorney.