Accident investigators in California say that a fatal crash in San Mateo County on Sept. 16 may have been caused by a water nozzle that had fallen off a truck owned by the California Department of Transportation. An 82-year-old Mountain View man was killed when the nozzle shattered his van's windshield and struck him in the neck. The accident took place on U.S. Highway 101 in East Palo Alto at approximately 1:10 p.m.
Accident investigators from the California Highway Patrol determined that the object recovered at the scene had come from a Caltrans water truck after consulting with the state agency. The truck involved was quickly identified, and reports indicate that it was traveling between jobs when the screw-on nozzle cap became loose and fell off. Officials did not say what may have caused the nozzle to detach, and they did not explain why it was not properly secured by a chain.
According to police, the water truck was proceeding southbound on Highway 101 when the nozzle fell off in the vicinity of Willow Road. The man who lost his life was traveling southbound when the nozzle struck his van. He was pronounced dead by emergency medical services personnel. Police say that no other vehicles were involved.
Car accident lawsuits are usually filed against negligent drivers, but vehicle manufacturers and auto repair facilities may also face this type of litigation. When a fatal accident is caused by debris from another vehicle or a mechanical failure of some type, personal injury attorneys may study maintenance records and outstanding recalls to determine whether or not faulty repairs or a known safety issue played a role.
Source: ABC News San Francisco, Elderly man killed in freak accident on Highway 101 in Palo Alto identified, Katie Marzullo, Sept. 16, 2016