Highway 17 fatal crash

A fatal and destructive crash that left 11 vehicles destroyed occurred Thursday morning on Highway 17 near the Lexington Reservoir.

The crash occurred a little before 8 a.m., when a big rig truck collided with other vehicles creating a domino effect before reportedly rolling over. The driver of the fifth car in the line was killed when he was ejected from his vehicle before being reportedly dragged with the spinning tanker. He has yet to be identified but is believed to be a 26 year-old from Santa Cruz.

The truck crushed everything in its path, injuring seven people in addition to the fatality, before breaking through the double metal beam barrier and finally coming to rest. One of the injured, a woman, was listed as in critical condition in a nearby hospital after suffering a severe laceration. The others were also taken to local hospitals for treatment of minor injuries.

The driver of the big rig, has yet to be identified but was not arrested or cited for the incident nor was he intoxicated according to police. The truck is reportedly owned by Saney Brothers Trucking of Tracy, California.

Several eyewitnesses placed the semi-truck in question just south of Bear Creek Road when the crash occurred. Witnesses say there was smoke coming from the trucks brakes as it tried to slow for the morning commuter traffic before it jack-knifed and plowed into backed up traffic. The two, belly dump trailers the truck was pulling were fully loaded with dirt according the CHP.

Semi’s over 38′ in length from the kingpin to the rear axle are prohibited on this stretch of Hwy 17 and the speed limited to 35 mph for all trucks.

With sharp turns, dense traffic, narrow shoulders, odd bumps and blind cures, California State Route 17 is one of the most dangerous highways in the state.

While mechanical failure, speed, vehicle length and weight may have been factors in this crash, the exact details regarding the nature or cause of this collision are still under investigation.

However, what is clear is this type of crash can easily be avoided with traffic proximity monitors that warn drivers of slow traffic ahead, giving them ample warning of the approaching danger.

Yet CalTrans has long taken the “ostrich approach” to the dangers Highway 17 poses to drivers. Needless deaths have been caused by CalTrans’ failure to acknowledge the repeated notice of dangerous conditions along this highway and to act accordingly to protect the public.

When the victims of these crashes confront CalTrans in a court of law seeking compensation for loss of loved ones, medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering, CalTrans uses tax-payer money to pay lawyers to obfuscate the facts and play hide the ball with critical evidence. CalTrans simply refuses to turn over evidence of their complete disregard for public safety and failure to remedy this clearly dangerous public condition.

In another Highway 17 death case, Wener vs. CalTrans, County of Santa Cruz, Case No. CIV175878, being handled by Richard Alexander and Nina Shapirshteyn of Alexander Law Group; CalTrans has repeatedly refused to turn over any documents to the plaintiff, even refusing to produce documents that have been made public in other cases or that are available on their own websites.

After countless requests, motions, writs and appeals Caltrans was recently levied with sanctions for refusing to answer questions about other injuries and deaths on Hwy 17 and CalTrans’ knowledge of those injuries and deaths.

CalTrans has long made it difficult and costly for plaintiffs to pursue their claims against the State of California.

Hiring a law firm with the resources and expertise to battle defendants like CalTrans is the first and most vital step to obtaining fair and just compensation for the loss of a father, mother, son or daughter as all too often is the case. Those who are injured face a lifetime of medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering.

The Alexander Law Group is a nationally-recognized and award-winning personal injury law firm with offices in San Jose and San Francisco. We are passionate about our clients and our community. We are advocates for our clients and we invite you to read what our clients have to say.

If you or someone you know has been injured, contact the personal injury lawyers at the Alexander Law Group by email or call 888.777.1776. All calls are free and confidential.