While authorities seek a big rig involved in a hit-and-run traffic accident that left a man dead in Albany, a trucking expert contacted by SF Weekly said it's doubtful the trucker doesn't realize he struck another vehicle.
Witnesses watched a weaving white Toyota Corolla collide with the truck's trailer at around 9 a.m. this morning on I-80. The truck -- pulling a trailer described as either "rusty" or "rust-colored" -- did not stop and has not yet been tracked down. A California Highway Patrol spokesman said the trucker may not realize he was even involved in a collision.
Truckdriving expert Lew Grill, however, called "bullshit" on that -- literally. Grill has been driving a big rig for 42 years and served as an expert witness for more than 500 cases. He said it would be inconceivable for the driver not to know what happened.
"You feel it. When you bump into a stop sign [with the trailer], you're going to feel it," he said. "You have to know how close vehicles are around your truck. Let's assume this was the Toyota's fault. Still, why not stop? There's a reason that 18-wheeler didn't stop."
Grill said hit-and-run incidents with big rigs are rare -- but not unheard of. He has worked three in his career as an expert witness. One involved a truck swerving to miss a man changing a tire on the side of the road -- and a truck following shortly behind striking the man. A third truck then struck the man's wife, who had run into the road to flag down traffic.
In another instance, Grill recalls, a trucker involved in a hit-and-run was caught washing away blood and other evidence of a pedestrian-vs.-truck accident.
SF Weekly's calls to the Highway Patrol have not yet been returned. And while you'd think a big rig would be easy to track down, Grill said it may not be so.
If the truck driver really is intent on evading authorities and he gets to a place where he can "steel wool the evidence off," he may be home free.
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