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Shifting load caused truck to crash, early probe finds

July 15, 2007|From the Associated Press

SACRAMENTO — The truck involved in a fiery crash that brought down part of an Oakland freeway overturned when its load of fuel shifted during a lane change, according to a preliminary finding by the California Highway Patrol.

An onboard satellite navigation system recorded the truck's speed as 62 mph, which is above the posted speed limit of 55 mph. But that was not the reason for the April 29 crash, according to Steve Vaughn, head of the CHP enforcement service division, who testified Wednesday before a House transportation subcommittee investigating truck safety.

"We found that the driver did take an action, a turning movement, to move into a traffic lane, went a little bit further than he intended, shifted back to the left and it was at that point, we believe, the fuel shifted, causing the vehicle to go onto its side," Vaughn said.

Initially, the CHP said driver James Mosqueda was moving at an unsafe speed. Mosqueda, 51, was the only person injured in the 3:45 a.m. crash. He was hospitalized with second-degree burns.

The accident caused a section of Interstate 580 to collapse and disrupted the Bay Area commute for a month. Rebuilding the interchange cost $5.8 million.

Vaughn said Mosqueda had a clean driving record.

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