According to the California Highway Patrol, a car accident involving a Chrysler minivan and a semi-truck caused four fatalities. The incident occurred on US-101 near the 76 truck stop north of Paso Robles around 6:15 p.m. on Dec. 24.
The semi-truck was traveling northbound on the highway, and the minivan was traveling southbound. The driver of the truck made a left-hand turn, crossing over the southbound lanes; as it was crossing, the minivan struck the trailer of the truck and drove underneath it. An eyewitness said it appeared that a pickup truck without its cab was on the road; he soon realized the vehicle was a minivan with its top completely sheared off. The local news station spoke with a different truck driver who stated that the intersection is poorly lit, making that particular left turn difficult.
The driver of the minivan and two passengers were pronounced dead at the scene. An additional passenger was transported to a hospital but later pronounced dead. The driver of the truck was not injured.
At the time of reporting, police were still investigating the incident. In a case such as this where there are multiple fatalities, police may conduct an accident reconstruction or use eyewitness accounts to determine what factors led to the event. The area is reportedly dimly lit, so it may be possible that either the truck driver or the driver of the minivan had difficulty seeing each other, resulting in the fatal collision.
Because fatal car accidents result in unexpected funeral expenses and other damages, the family of the deceased may choose to seek compensation from the driver determined to be at fault or the driver's estate if deceased. In cases such as this that involve a commercial truck, a lawsuit might involve the semi-truck's owner as well as the individual driver.
Source: KSBY, "Update: Four dead after minivan collides with semi truck near Paso Robles", Alexandra Pierce, December 25, 2014