A cement truck driver died early Saturday, August 24, in San Francisco after his vehicle overturned on Palo Alto’s Middlefield Road.
Police related that the accident happened around 5:10 a.m. on the 4200 block of Middlefield, just south of San Antonio Road. When officers arrived at the scene they found the cement truck rolled onto its side and a man was inside. There were no other vehicles involved.
This accident happened on the heels of another truck accident on July 19 where a tractor trailer struck a car on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge in Maryland, pushing the car into the water. The truck driver told police that the accident happened because he was distracted by the lights and sounds happening behind his tractor trailer.
Morgan lake, 24, was in the car that was pushed into the water. She was able to climb from the vehicle through a shattered window and then swam to safety. Her car sank.
After the accident, whether or not the barriers in place on the bridge are a sufficient protection has been called into question.
For many drivers, this bridge and these questionable barriers are an everyday fear. Many drivers even pay a fee to be driven across the bridge because they find the experience too terrifying to go through alone. Rather than drive across the 4.3 mile twin spans solo, many drivers will gladly pay $25 per day to have someone else take the helm. The bridge is 186 feet above the water and for many the short barriers are not a comforting protection. For drivers with a fear of heights or claustrophobia the bridge is a nightmare.
For bigger vehicles like trucks or SUVs the 3-4 foot tall barriers lining the bridge can feel like nothing. There is very little room for driver error as the barriers are positioned just And obviously in the event of a collision, the barriers are not enough to prevent a vehicle from being pushed from the bridge into the water below.
But the Maryland Transportation Authority was quick to point out that the accident involving Lake was a true accident and no fault of her own. Her 2007 Chrysler Sebring struck her vehicle from behind just after she cleared the toll and hit heavy traffic. The impact shoved her car up onto the wall and over it, where it then fell into the water. Lake said “I was dragging against the Jersey wall of the bridge, and I thought I would be okay if I could stay on the bridge,” Lake said. “As soon as he hit me, I flew, and then I flew up on the wall of the bridge.” Her car fell 27 feet into the water below. She heard and felt glass breaking and airbags going off but she kept her eyes shut tightly.
She was able to escape from the car through a broken window.“I pushed the side of the car with my feet to get some momentum to reach the surface,” she said. A boater saw her in the water after she swam to a support piling, and came over with a life jacket. Marine police were called in.
AAA is now asking the National Transportation Safety Board if they will conduct an independent investigation regarding the bridge’s railings.