A semi-truck driver died after his truck jackknifed when he attempted to avoid a sedan that cut in front of him on Interstate 5. The accident happened on June 12 just after midnight near Santa Clarita Valley. According to the California Highway Patrol, no charges have been filed in the case, and it remains under investigation.
According to reports, a 25-year-old man driving a Lincoln Town Car changed lanes abruptly while traveling about 65 miles per hour, causing the truck driver to abruptly swerve. The truck turned over after jackknifing and caught fire, which killed the driver and caused such bad burns that officials said that they might have to rely on dental records or X-rays for identification, though he was noted as being a Sun Valley resident. Positive identification using such methods could take several weeks.
The driver of the sedan was treated for minor injuries. Traffic in the area did not return to normal for nearly 12 hours while the cleanup was underway; approximately 50 gallons of diesel fuel were spilled onto the roadway, and several agencies responded to clean up the spill.
When someone dies in an accident caused by an unsafe lane change, the family of the deceased may consider filing a wrongful death claim. This decision to file may rest on the results of the accident investigation, but even if the driver who made the unsafe lane change is not charged, the individual could be held responsible in civil court. Negligence in a civil case does not have to rise to the level of a criminal act. It simply means that the driver did not take reasonable care.
Source: SCV News, "Big-rig Driver Cut Off, Killed Overnight on I-5", Perry Smith, June 12, 2014