Driver Swerved Away From The Runaway Truck Ramp

Video shows a semitrailer out of control in mountains ahead of fiery I-70 crash | FOX31 Denver

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25 Responses to Driver Swerved Away From The Runaway Truck Ramp

  1. rah says:

    I went over the video from the guy in the car stopping it to check out the rig. Sure looks like it could be the very same one to me.

    • Colorado Wellington says:

      The Lakewood Police affidavit supports what was reported and discussed on Tony’s blog so far:

      Affidavit: Driver involved in deadly I-70 crash was driving erratically, going more than 80 mph

      Rogel Lazaro Aguilera-Mederos, who was interviewed by police after he was released from the hospital, said he was driving the semi on eastbound I-70 when he lost control of the vehicle after his brakes failed and that he saw his speedometer was at 85 miles per hour as he had to maneuver to the right shoulder to avoid stopped traffic.

      The affidavit states Aguilera-Mederos saw the right shoulder was blocked by another stopped semi, so he swerved backed into the lanes of stopped traffic and closed his eyes before the crash, thinking he was about to die.

      The affidavit then details accounts from witnesses who say they saw the semi speeding past them near the buffalo herd overlook at the Lookout Mountain exit.

      Jonathan Valdez and Pedro Olvera, who were in a work truck heading east on I-70, told police they followed the semi and recorded its movements with a cell phone camera “because of how the semi was driving” near the Genesee exit. They also told police they noticed a trail of fluid coming from the rear of the semi.

      According to the affidavit, the men saw the semi driving in all three lanes, and, at one point, the semi even forced a pickup truck off the left side of the highway. Video obtained by police shows the semi pass an emergency runaway truck ramp.

      Olvera told police his work truck can only go up to 80 miles per hour and that he was not able to keep up with the accelerating semi. Both men eventually caught up to the semi and saw it had been in the fiery collision.

      The probable cause statement also states video from the witnesses was reviewed by police, which shows the semi driving in the far-right lane of the highway “under a clearly marked yellow caution sign” which reads “RUNAWAY TRUCK RAMP 2000 FEET” with an arrow pointing toward the far right lane. It also states there was a speed limit sign with a clearly marked speed limit of 65 mph for personal vehicles and a 45 mph speed limit for commercial vehicles.

      Video obtained by police shows the semi continuing eastbound, drifting from the far-right lane (lane 3) to the line left of it (lane 2) twice. The video then shows the semi driving past the runaway ramp that is “clearly marked with a yellow sign saying “RUNAWAY TRUCK RAMP.””

      In the arrest affidavit, police stated the semi had a “free and unobstructed” path to the runaway ramp on the right side, “but instead swerves left from lane #3 to lane #1, … then forces a pickup truck that is in lane #1 off the left side of the highway.” Police state that truck drove off the roadway in to the dirt road on the side of the road to avoid getting hit by the semi.

  2. R Shearer says:

    It appears that the driver was inexperienced, poorly trained, likely incompetent and perhaps could not read English very well.

  3. Bill says:

    OT: it appears that Ford does not actually test its various cars when it reports mileage and emissions; it uses computer models instead.

    “Ford in February said it was investigating if incorrect computer modeling caused it to misstate fuel economy and emissions for some vehicles.”

    How many other things that I thought were measured directly are actually just modeled!

    • rah says:

      I drive in the Detroit area quite a lot and now and then see Ford vehicles being road tested. Have no idea why they don’t do direct measurements of mileage and emissions.

  4. Crashex says:

    This is just one more example of an inexperienced/incompetent driver making bad decisions while driving a semi-tractor truck in an environment (steep downhill grade) that is dangerous if not done properly. Millions of trucks travel these grades every year with no problems–the trucks are properly designed to handle the hills, so long as a properly trained driver makes good use of their training and does it properly. Reduce speed, set a low gear to have adequate engine braking, use a “jake” brake if you have one and use “stab” or “punch” braking applications to control speed. It takes a bit of patience to drive slower, but that is what’s needed.

    The improper actions by the driver lead to brake failure due to overheating. Secondary factors could be an excess weight/load on the truck or worn brakes or drums, improper slack adjuster settings.

    Too often, even after the driver feels the brakes fading due to overheating from their first dumb decisions, they feel they can still “handle this” and some misplaced pride keeps them from using the runaway truck ramps that are provided, or to deliberately ditch the truck into a guardrail or embankment early on, before the speed gets too high. An optimistic driver probably figures that the truck can be steered through light traffic on the road and not have a catastrophic result. It is the unexpected traffic jam, stop light or train crossing that confounds that optimistic driver and ends in catastrophe.

    For some reason, blaring the horn as the vehicle barrels out of control is not a common reaction. I suspect the driver is so busy clutching the steering wheel with both hands, his last means of any control, that the horn doesn’t seem like a useful option.

    This is driver negligence–gross negligence–and will end with vehicular homicide charges. Criminal charges will result in jail time.

    The civil side will have plaintiff attorneys for all those dead and injured trying to get a share of a commercial insurance plan that will be too small to cover the damages. There will be finger pointing on who hit who first to try to recover from other insurance carriers and then a flurry of underinsured motorist claims.

    • rah says:

      Volvo’s have the actuation for the big horn on the steering wheel instead of the traditional lanyard that requires you to reach up with your left hand. A feature I like on their trucks.

    • Dave Ward says:

      “Reduce speed, set a low gear to have adequate engine braking, use a “jake” brake if you have one and use “stab” or “punch” braking applications to control speed”

      I doubt if any driver learning these days has heard of brake fade, yet nearly 50 years ago it was a regular occurrence – on 2 wheels as well as 4. It took quite a bit of nerve to momentarily lift off the brakes when your brain was telling you to push harder… I also taught myself cadence braking when ABS was only an option (if that) on expensive cars – double-declutching as well, since syncromesh wasn’t as effective as now. In the case of the 1968 Mini I started out in, it wasn’t fitted on 1st gear anyway.

      • Gator says:

        I had an old Buick hot rod I built in High School that had drum brakes all the way around. It was a very fast car for its day, it did very well drag racing on the weekends, and I used to enter it in local shows where it also competed like a champ. It was my daily driver and my commute to work was rural with the only one stop light, at the bottom of a long hill and a windy road. I learned very early just how dangerous drum brakes are when they get too hot, when I blew through that light with both feet on the brake pedal, that was doing nothing. Needless to say I became something of a brake expert when I upgraded to discs.

        My last truck still had its original brake pads on it, when I traded it in at 174,000 miles.

  5. GeologyJim says:

    This “alleged” homocidal-maniac truck driver walked away from the carnage he caused with scrapes and bruises. Little consolation for those who died/were gravely injured/were incinerated alive/lost loved ones in this absolutely preventable disaster.

    This guy is described in the broadcast news as a “truck driver from Texas” who had to be interviewed through an interpreter by police. One idiot talking head helpfully pointed out that this “truck driver from Texas” “had a green card, making him a legal resident with a right to work”

    Other idiot talking heads have helpfully pointed out that “drugs or alcohol do not appear to have been involved in the accident”. At this stage (the day of the carnage), how the FU** would anyone know? Did Lakewood Police obtain a blood sample from this “driver from Texas”? Maybe everyone who doesn’t know JACK should just STFU until there are some actual facts.

    What level of insanity does it take for some idiot government bureaucrat to issue a green card to a guy who clearly doesn’t understand English, clearly does not know how to drive a big rig in mountain terrain, etc., etc.??

    This guy was clearly NOT doing the “work that Americans just won’t do anymore”.

    Why doesn’t Congress get back to doing some actual legislation and pass necessary laws to require American citizenship for a CDL?!!

  6. rah says:

    GeologyJim says:
    This guy was clearly NOT doing the “work that Americans just won’t do anymore”.
    Shortage of class A CDL drivers in the US is about 50,000. Projected to more than double in five years.
    “The American Trucking Associations (ATA) predict that if current trends last, there will be a shortage of nearly 175,000 truck drivers by 2024!”

    Over 11 years ago when I hired in with the company I currently drive for they required 2 years of OTR experience and would only hire those that had no more than one minor accident or had one moving violation in that time. Those high standards went by the wayside long ago. When I got the job for my current salary driver position over five years ago there were only 3 of us in the entire company at all terminals. Now there are six at my terminal, and a dozen more spread out between three other terminals. BTW an $8,ooo sign on bonus is common these days in the industry.

    • GeologyJim says:

      Thanks, Rah – – I anticipated I’d get a straight answer from a real-life over-the-road OTR trucker.

      I scanned the WaPo article and, frankly, it sounded like orchestrated whining. I don’t doubt that OTR trucking is a tough job and involves sacrifices of family time with spouses and kids – but all jobs require adjustments (at the very least) in order to be successful.

      I was a field geologist and I was away from home for weeks/months at a time in order to do my job. My wife and I worked it out with lots of mutual compromises. That’s what family teams do in order to succeed.

      I had no sympathy for the woman OTR wife-husband trucker team who complained she gained 60 lbs because the job is sedentary and OTR food is low quality. Boo hoo! Plan ahead and carry a cooler full of better food! Do isometric exercises when you are “riding shotgun”! Stay away from the burritos and corn dogs at the truck stops, fercryinoutloud!!

      If Jeff Bezos (Amazon) and FedEx and UPS want to guarantee high-speed delivery to homes and offices, then THEY ARE JUST GOING TO HAVE TO CHARGE LAZY-ASS CONSUMERS UP THE WAZOO FOR THE CONVENIENCE!! And suffer the consequences if they can’t do it at rates the market will support.

      I still think US citizenship and English-language proficiency should be required (in addition to OTR training and experience) to get a Commercial Drivers License. What do we have to lose, except more lives due to big rig drivers who have no business being on the road and risking the lives of the rest of us.

      Safe driving, Good Buddy

      • rah says:

        I agree that’s whining. But understand lots of OTR drivers are out for 6 weeks at a stretch typically. Home for 3-4 days and out again for 6 weeks. This goes on pretty much all year. My first year driving I was home a total of 22 days.

        As far as food? Even truck stops are offering prepackaged salads and vegetable and fruit trays under glass up by the registers. Oranges, bananas, and apples are offered also. No excuse for getting fat really. So often I see that guys so fat they look like they would need oxygen to climb up in the truck that will wait behind two other trucks in the line at the fuel island closest to the door of the truck stop. Same types will be seen sitting down at the all you can eat Buffets. Claims that there is an unavailability of heathy food on the road is pure BS.

        BTW the meat loaf at Pilots and Flying J truck stops is excellent. Usually get mine with mashed potatoes and gravy and green beans. The baked 1/4 chicken and pot roast with carrots and potatoes are also very good but I think they’re a little over priced.

        These days I eat one decent meal a day usually when on the road and within reach inside my truck I have various nature valley grain bars that usually serves for breakfast or a snack when behind the wheel.

        During my last trip I ate out of the larder of my truck. Tuna on whole wheat crackers and a small can of peas and carrots heated up in my little “tool box” 12V cooker was dinner. The next morning since I had to sit for several hours to wait for my pickup appointment time my breakfast was a can of Dole tropical fruit and a couple of blueberry Nature Valley soft baked bars.

        But the thing is really there is a bad shortage of drivers and it’s been getting worse. But for me in my position, that’s job security.

        • GeologyJim says:

          Go get ’em, rah. You are takin’ care of business – and yourself.

          Cheers, Geology Jim

          • Rah says:

            Currently sitting in the door at the Advanced Auto parts DC in Delaware, OH (north of Columbus) getting unloaded. 33,000 lb of Shocks, struts, etc in an “adjustable deck” trailer. Dead head the 170 mi back home when they’re done. At home a 3 gallon SS pot filled with 2 lb of fresh snapped green beans, ham, and baby red potatoes is simmering on the stove.

          • Colorado Wellington says:

            RAH, you slave driver, making your pots work for you at home even when you are gone!

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