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UPDATE: Valerio Estrada, 89, Killed In Petaluma Semi-Truck Accident On Lakeville Street Near In-N-Out Burger Restaurant


Nov 6, 2019

Valerio Estrada Petaluma: Valerio Estrada, 89, Killed In Petaluma Semi-Truck Accident While Riding Tricycle On Lakeville Street Near In-N-Out Burger Restaurant

PETALUMA, CALIFORNIA (November 6, 2019) – An 89-year-old man identified as Valerio Estrada was tragically killed after being hit by a semi-truck on Lakeville Street not far from Highway 101. 

California Highway Patrol are saying that the accident took place around 12:15 p.m. on October 23. Valerio Estrada was riding a trailer on Lakeville Street not far from an In-N-Out. 

Two semi-trucks were stopped at a red light nearby. Once the lights changed to green the semi-trucks drove through the intersection and Valerio Estrada was hit by the trailer of one of the semi-trucks. 

Paramedics were called to the scene in order to help Valerio Estrada. Despite life-saving measures the victim later died due to his injuries. 

An investigation into the crash remains ongoing at this time. Petaluma police are still collecting evidence and eye witness testimony.

This is the first fatal collision involving a cyclist in Petaluma in nearly 17 years. 

Liability In Petaluma Semi-Truck Accidents

According to Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), “Most deaths in large truck crashes are passenger vehicle occupants. The main problem is the vulnerability of people traveling in smaller vehicles. Trucks often weigh 20-30 times as much as passenger cars and are taller with greater ground clearance, which can result in smaller vehicles underriding trucks in crashes.” Deaths involving semi-trucks hit an all time low in 2009, but they have been steadily climbing since then. 

A fully loaded semi-truck can weigh as much as 80,000 lbs. They can be extremely difficult to stop. Another major problem with semi-trucks is that they have extremely large blind spots. They may not see bicyclists or other pedestrians that are in the side of the roadway. 

Valerio Estrada Blog Diagram showing commercial truck driver's blind spots.

Image Source: California DMV

There are a number of federal and state regulations related to driving a commercial truck. According to the FMCSA, truck drivers and their employers must make sure that:

  • Trucks do not exceed 55 mph
  • Truck drivers do not work more than 14 hours in a single day. 
  • Truck drivers undergo periodic medical examinations to make sure they are healthy enough to drive.
  • Truck drivers pass safety tests and acquire a commercial license

Fatigue is a major problem for truck drivers. In fact, it is the number one factor associated with commercial truck accidents. If a truck driver is negligent and hits a pedestrian the company that they work for may face civil liability. Companies are generally liable for the negligent conduct of their employees – insofar as those employees are working within the course and scope of heir job duties. 

A city could also be liable for a bicycle accident involving a semi-truck under California Government Code 835. Cities have a legal responsibility to design, construct and maintain roads that are in a reasonably safe condition. According to the FHWA, bike lanes should be a minimum of four feet wide. If a bicycle lane is too narrow this could create a hazard that leads to accidents. 

Valerio Estrada Blog Bike Lane - Del Mar, CAPhoto: www.pedbikeimages.org - Andy Hamilton

Image Source: National Association of City Transportation Officials (Urban Bikeway Design Guide)

The family of any victim that died in a semi-truck accident may have legal  recourse through California Code of Civil Procedure 377.60. Damages in a civil claim can help cover funereal expenses, lost wages, medical bills and loss of love. Potential beneficiaries in a civil claim can include a victim’s spouse, children and siblings. Unfortunately, trucking companies will often fight hard to deny liability for any accident. A truck accident attorney can examine all of the facts of your case free of cost and let you know what your legal options are. 

Investigating A Petaluma Truck Accident

We at West Coast Trial Lawyers extend our deepest condolences to the family of Valerio Estrada. Any person that may have seen the accident should reach out to the Petaluma Police Department as they continue their investigation. City officials should examine this intersection and see what steps can be taken to make it safer for bicyclists. 

Have you or someone that you care about been involved in a truck accident? There are a number of laws designed to protect your rights. Our team of personal injury attorneys are here to answer any questions that you may have. We are committed to making sure that accident victims are aware of their rights and that proactive steps are taken to make our roads safer. Whether you just have questions about the law or need a free, independent investigation into an accident we are here for you. You can reach out to us anytime at (888) 888-9285. 

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