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Caltrans toll booth worker dies in horrific crash

Anyone living in Oakland knows that crossing the Bay Bridge can be nerve-wracking at times. However, those who worry the most about their safety traversing the bridge usually are the drivers themselves and their passengers.

Truck strikes vehicles before fatally injuring toll-taker

Earlier this week, a 46-year-old toll collector on the plaza leading to the Bay Bridge died as a result of catastrophic injuries suffered in an accident. Events unfolded shortly before dawn on Dec. 2, a Saturday. The toll collector was inside the designated booth area, collecting fares from drivers.

According to an officer with the California Highway Patrol (CHP), a 32-year-old man at the wheel of a rented box truck that was approaching the span crashed the truck into multiple automobiles. The truck continued on its deadly trajectory and smashed into toll booth 14, demolishing it and killing the toll-taker inside of the booth.

Both the box truck driver and his passenger were ejected from the wrecked truck and were reported to have been seriously injured in the collision.

No evidence of terrorism

In an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, one CHP officer stated that while the investigation was ongoing, there was no evidence to indicate that the collision was intentional or related to terrorism.

However, another CHP officer with knowledge of the investigation stated that the driver may be charged with driving under the influence (DUI), as well as vehicular manslaughter. He remains hospitalized for his injuries, and his family members had no comments for the Chronicle news report.

Governor weighs in

California Gov. Jerry Brown issued a statement identifying the deceased toll collector. He added that the victim was employed for over 10 years with the California Department of Transportation. The Caltrans employee's survivors include her husband and a daughter, age 10.

Multiple victims and potential shared liability

Whenever there is a serious or fatal accident involving several vehicles, investigators must piece together the chain of events very carefully in order to gain a true picture of the accident. This is necessary in order to correctly assign liability in such collisions. While it appears in this case that the box truck driver was at fault, often there are other factors at play that might not immediately be apparent.

This is why savvy personal injury attorneys employ their own investigators to recreate the conditions that led to the crash being investigated. Their diligence can sometimes uncover defendants with even deeper pockets than the hapless drivers involved in the crash. The survivors and injured victims may need months or even years of costly medical treatment and rehabilitation, which may be recoverable in a settlement or judgment by the court.

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