A truck driver might face charges after a cargo container clipped a railroad bridge and fell off his flatbed, crushing a cyclist.
Strapped Down Container Falls Off Truck, Killing Man
The incident occurred Tuesday in Long Beach, California on a designated truck route near Santa Fe Avenue and Warnock Way around 5 p.m. 51-year-old Robert Castorena was riding his bike on a sidewalk when the truck’s strapped down cargo container somehow hit the overpass and fell off, crushing the man.
FMCSA: Crash is “Extremely Unusual”
A representative from the FMCSA called the crash “extremely unusual” and said that he had never heard of a shipping container falling off of a truck after striking a bridge.
The overpass is clearly marked as 14 feet and 5 inches high. Authorities found scrapes underneath the bridge, but the fact that the container made it all the way to the other side of the bridge indicates that the container did not strike a vertical surface on the structure. Authorities are investigating the height of the container to determine whether to press charges against the truck driver.
Investigators Work to Determine Cause of Fatal Incident
Other factors will determine whether charges are brought against the truck driver in the fatal incident, including his speed and whether he was working as an employee or an independent contractor.
A witness, David Alva, told reporters that he believes that truckers are cutting corners as a result of the strike at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach: “Right now, since we’re on strike, the 18-wheelers aren’t taking out the containers. I’m assuming that they’re hiring those flatbeds because yesterday it was a flatbed too.”
Union representative Barbara Maynard blames the way drivers are being paid for accidents like this: “What we’ve got happening here is drivers who are paid by the load instead of by the hour, and so they’re just having to drive faster and faster and cut corners, and we’ve seen so many accidents; people losing their lives.”
The truck belongs to Western Pride Inc. out of Utah.