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One Killed in Sutter County Crash with Ammonia-Hauling Big Rig

Big Rig Attempting to Pass Ends in Tragedy

On Thursday, April 22, 2021, one person died following a collision with a commercial truck that was hauling anhydrous ammonia. The big rig collided head-on with a pickup truck at approximately 6:00 a.m. in a rural area within Sutter County, according to authorities.

The tragic incident took place near Reclamation Road and Sheffield Road. The driver of the big rig was attempting to pass a slower-moving vehicle that was towing a boat. In the course of that maneuver, the big rig crashed into the front end of a pickup truck that was traveling in the opposite direction. According to a statement by the California Highway Patrol (CHP), the impact caused both trucks to careen off the roadway and catch fire.

Tragically, the driver of the pickup was killed.  The driver of the large commercial semi-truck walked away from the crash uninjured. 

Hazardous Material Concern

Following the crash, there was concern about the contents of the big rig. The trailer was full of 20 tons of anhydrous ammonia. The chemical is used as fertilizer in rice crops in advance of the growing season. The substance can burn skin on contact, and can also burn the lungs and throat upon inhalation. A Yuba-Sutter Hazmat team was called to the scene to work in conjunction with the Sutter County Fire Department. Inspection revealed that the trailer remained intact, and there was no ammonia leaking after the crash.

Sutter County Road Closed After Deadly Accident

For a period of time following Thursday’s fatal big rig accident in rural Sutter County, Reclamation Road was closed between Pelger Road and Tisdale Road for the crash investigation and clean-up.

Commercial Truck Wrongful Death in Sutter County

Judging by the details released to date, it sounds as though the driver of the semi-truck was at fault in this terrible incident. One wonders what led the commercial truck driver to move into the oncoming lane without ensuring that there was enough time and space to pass the slower-moving vehicle. And how slow must that boat-towing truck have been traveling for the big rig driver to decide to overtake it?

Commercial Truck Drivers and Duty of Care

Under the Federal Motorist Carrier Safety Administration part 392.14, commercial truck drivers have an increased duty of care and must use extreme caution when operating their motor vehicle in dangerous conditions that affect traction or visibility. Those conditions are listed as:

  • Snow
  • Sleet
  • Ice
  • Mist
  • Fog
  • Rain
  • Smoke
  • Dust

In the absence of those conditions, commercial drivers have the same duty of care to drive safely as other drivers on the road. Thursday’s accident occurred at around 6:00 a.m.  Sunrise was at 6:20 a.m. on April 22nd, so less than optimal visibility could have been a consideration. 

Any time a vehicle attempts to overtake another on a two-lane road, extreme care should be taken to ensure that there is no one approaching in the oncoming lane in order to avoid a tragedy such as this.  

Watch the YouTube video. Below is a KCRA3 news clip reporting on the big rig accident.

Yuba City Personal Injury Lawyer

Hello. My name is Ed Smith, and I have been a personal injury lawyer in Yuba City, California, for nearly four decades. No matter how often we read of tragedies such as this, it is always with sadness that we report on a traffic accident senselessly and suddenly ending a life.  There is always grieving loved ones left behind following a wrongful death caused by negligence. If you have suffered injuries or a family member has died in a crash caused by another driver’s negligence or carelessness, don’t hesitate to reach out to our injury lawyers for compassionate, free, and friendly advice at (530) 392-9400 or (800) 404-5400.

Photo: Pixabay

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