Driver strikes parked big rig on Hwy 99, dies

Unnamed driver dies in car fire after striking a parked big rig at Highway 99 and Avenue 24

TULARE COUNTY – It isn’t enough to watch the trucks that are moving on the road, drivers also need to watch for the ones parked on the shoulder. Unfortunately, one driver found that out the hard way.

According to California Highway Patrol (CHP), last Sunday, May 9 at 1:27 a.m., officers from the Visalia area office responded to a call of a vehicle versus a big rig on northbound Highway 99 at Avenue 24. Upon arrival, it was determined to be a solo vehicle into a parked big rig on the right shoulder.

The driver whose name is being withheld, was driving a 2013 Chevrolet northbound on Highway 99 north of Avenue 24. For an undetermined reason, the driver allowed the Chevrolet to veer right across the No. 2 lane and onto the right shoulder where it struck the rear of a 2021 Freightliner which was parked. The Chevrolet became engulfed in flames resulting in a fatality. The Chevrolet was occupied only by the driver. It is not known if alcohol or drugs played a factor in this collision.

CHP Collision Reports

Sunday, May 9
At approximately 11:03 p.m., CHP officers from the Visalia area responded to a traffic collision on Highway 198 east of Plaza Drive, with medical personnel responding. During the course of the investigation, it was determined that Marco Flores, 24, was driving westbound on Highway 198, east of Plaza Drive, at a high rate of speed. Due to Flores’ level of intoxication, he made an unsafe turning movement which caused the Lexus to travel off the north roadway edge and overturn several times. Flores was unrestrained at the time of the crash and was ejected from the Lexus as it overturned. He sustained major injuries as a result of this crash. Flores was determined to be under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash and was arrested for drunk driving. He was released to the care of Kaweah Health Hospital for treatment of his injuries.

Thursday, May 7
At approximately 2:38 p.m., officers from the CHP Visalia Area Office responded to crash on Highway 99 southbound but north of Avenue 24 in the southwest portion of Tulare County. During the course of the investigation, it was determined a 52-year-old male from Delano was driving a 2009 Freightliner in combination with two 1970 Utility flatbed trailers southbound on Highway 99, north of Avenue 24. For reasons still unknown, the Freightliner abruptly turned to the right, which caused the rear trailer to overturn on its side. The Freightliner continued onto the shoulder where it overturned and came to rest on its roof. The driver was trapped in the wreckage as the big rig became engulfed in flames. Crews from the Tulare County Fire Department and the Kern County Fire Department arrived on scene and battled the fire. Unfortunately, the driver succumbed to his injuries before the flames could be extinguished. It is unknown if alcohol and/or drugs were a factor in this crash. Investigators from the CHP are continuing with this investigation. Anyone with information pertaining to this crash is urged to call Officer Manley of the Visalia Area CHP Office at 559-734-6767.

Tuesday, May 4
At approximately 8:50 p.m., officers from the CHP Visalia office responded to a traffic collision on Road 80 south of State Route 201, with medical personnel responding. During the course of the investigation it was determined an 18-year-old male was riding his skateboard in the traffic lanes of Road 80 northbound, south of State Route 201 before he was hit by a Ford Ranger pickup truck driven by Adrian Rodriguez, 28, of Visalia, who was also driving on Road 80 northbound and stayed on scene after the crash. The skateboader suffered fatal injuries as a result of being struck by the Ranger. Road 80 was closed in both directions for less than two hours. The cause of this traffic collision is still under investigation. Alcohol and/or drugs do not appear to be a contributing factor.

Start typing and press Enter to search