At Least 15 Killed in California SUV Crash Involving 18-Wheeler

A semi-truck and a Ford Expedition SUV collided at a highway intersection near Holtville, California on March 2, 2021, causing a mass-casualty event. Holtville is about 100 miles east of San Diego and 10 miles north of Mexicali on the US-Mexico border. Early reports indicate 25 people were in the SUV at the time of the crash and many of the occupants were ejected from the vehicle. As of this writing, at least 15 people are dead and others have been hospitalized after suffering life-threatening head injuries, chest injuries, and fractures.

Officials currently believe the SUV may have been transporting undocumented migrants at the time of the crash. Regardless of the victims’ immigration status, they have protections under the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution ensuring they have the right to sue to be fully and fairly compensated for any injuries they suffer due to someone else’s negligence. Moreover, California Assembly Bill 2159 makes a plaintiff’s immigration status inadmissible in civil actions for personal injury or wrongful death, helping provide some peace of mind that an individual won’t be forced to choose between being compensated for her injuries or avoiding deportation.

A 2018 Los Angeles Times-ProPublica investigation determined that about one in three of the over 500 pursuits involving U.S. Border Patrol agents the previous four years ended in a crash. Those crashes resulted in at least 250 people being injured and 22 others being killed. Although deadly car crashes related to the U.S. Border Patrol pursuing vehicles transporting migrants happen far too often in California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas near the U.S-Mexico Border, a California Highway Patrol spokesperson stated the crash “was not a Border Patrol pursuit.” They are working with the Mexican Consulate to identify the dead.

What are some common causes of 18-wheeler accidents in California?

Almost half of all 18-wheeler accidents in California are caused by truck drivers traveling at an unsafe speed. Unsafe steering, including unsafe lane changes and improper turning, is another primary factor for crashes in California. Other common causes include:

  • Speeding (#1 cause of car accidents in California)
  • Driver inattentiveness
  • Inadequate training (especially when commercial vehicles haul loads that can easily weigh more than 50,000 pounds)
  • Driving while distracted
  • Driving in dangerous conditions
  • Failure to adapt/adjust to current weather conditions
  • Failure to maintain vehicle and tires in good condition
  • Failure to yield
  • Mechanical problems
  • Poor judgment
  • Overworked, tired drivers

What should I do if I was involved in a catastrophic 18-wheeler accident?

If you or a loved one was involved in a catastrophic 18-wheeler accident, you should consider discussing your rights with a law firm experienced in handling tragic 18-wheeler accidents throughout the United States with a focus in Texas, Louisiana, New Mexico, and California.  During a free, confidential consultation, the top-rated 18-wheeler accident attorneys at Morrow & Sheppard LLP can help provide you with critical information and legal advice as you seek to receive maximum compensation for your loss.  To discuss your legal rights, call 866-385-8127 or fill out our contact form online today.

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