Fatal highway accident: A 22-year-old man driving a flatbed pickup truck was killed Thursday when he crashed head-on into a big-rig on Highway 12 between Lodi and Rio Vista.
• A pickup truck driver was weaving in and out oncoming traffic lanes on a rural highway and eventually crashed head-on into a big-rig.
• The pickup truck driver died at the scene.
• The big-rig driver was taken to a hospital to be treated for injuries he suffered in the accident.
• The accident led to three more collisions involving five vehicles.
• The CHP did not yet know if drugs or alcohol were involved.
California Highway Patrol Officer Angel Arceo said 22-year-old Richard Kenneth Hartman of Oakley was driving a 2012 Ford F-550 flatbed pickup truck eastbound on Highway 12 at the time of the accident.
Highway 12 is a two-lane road. Witnesses reported Hartman’s eastbound truck weaving in and out of the westbound lane starting in Rio Vista, Arceo said. Fourteen miles later — at Peatland Road, near Interstate 5 — the pickup truck veered into the westbound lane again and crashed head-on into an oncoming big-rig driven by 44-year-old Tersem Singh of Lodi.
Hartman died at the scene. Singh was transported via ground ambulance to Lodi Memorial Hospital to be treated for injuries he suffered in the accident.
That crash led to three more accidents on the highway, Arceo said. At least five vehicles were involved in those accidents, including two semi trucks and a truck hauling construction equipment. One of the trucks was pushed off of the highway and into an irrigation ditch, according to a KCRA News report. No major injuries were reported.
CHP investigators had not determined whether drugs or alcohol were involved in the accident, Arceo said. Toxicology reports were pending.
What happens when the driver who is at fault dies in the accident?
In this case, the driver who caused the accident suffered fatal injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene. But the big-rig driver also was injured. Can he still make a claim?
The answer is yes. The case survives even when the wrongdoer doesn’t. The insurance carrier for the car that the wrongdoer was driving remains liable for damages. If that policy does not have enough coverage, additional compensation may be sought via Underinsured Motorist coverage from the insurance carrier for the vehicle in which the innocent victim was a driver or passenger.
If a lawsuit is necessary, it would be filed against the estate of the wrongdoer. If there is no estate, then the injured party can force an estate to be set up to handle the lawsuit.
Lodi Car Accident Lawyers
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