According to reports from news agency Desert Dispatch, a veteran tuck driver said he was making a delivery to the Fort Irwin Army base in California early in the morning of June 2nd when, in a ‘near miss,’ he had to swerve to avoid hitting another truck stopped in the left lane with no lights on.
The 46 -year -old driver who said he’s been driving tractor trailers for 27 years, claims that when he got to the gate of the Army base about 5 minutes later, at about 4:15am, he warned the guard about the truck stopped in the dark telling him that, “It’s an accident waiting to happen.” Although the driver expected somebody to at least wake up the driver of the stationary truck or put up cones, the man at the gate, who was not dressed in fatigues but a black uniform, remained non responsive about the issue, handed him his paperwork and told him to have a nice day.
About an hour after warning the solo man at the gate, the driver’s prophecy came true when a Victor Valley Transit Authority bus carrying commuters to the Army’s National Training Center struck the stationary truck. Passenger Dail Keiper of Barstow was killed and eight others were injured, including the female driver.
The driver who issued the warning said as he was leaving Fort Irwin, he came upon the crash scene and attempted to relay his story to the investigators, telling them it didn’t have to happen, but they didn’t ‘want to hear what he had to say and was threatened with arrest if he didn’t leave.
“I pulled over by the side of the road and was talking to an officer in plain clothes,” he told the Desert Dispatch. “He kept telling me to get back in my truck and I told him I need to talk to somebody. Then another gentleman came and said he was a lieutenant for Fort Irwin police and said, ‘If you don’t move your truck I’ll have you arrested.”
Fort Irwin released the following statement Tuesday afternoon in response to the man’s allegations: “Fort Irwin Public Affairs and the Department of Emergency services have no knowledge of the incident which you describe. The accident is still under investigation. The US Army Criminal Investigation Division encourages persons to come forward who feel they have something of substance to add.”
The driver chose to remain anonymous for his interview with the Daily Dispatch in fear of retaliation from the Army against him or his company. “It could have been prevented,” said the truck driver who lives in Los Angeles.
“If it was a relative of mine (who died in the crash), I’d like someone to come forward and provide some answers.”
Fort Irwin officials urge witnesses or anyone who has more information on the crash to call 760-464-6869