Tractor trailer kills teen standing outside of his car on Highway 99

18-year-old was checking a flat tire on the driver’s side of his car when he was struck by a passing big rig

The Sun-Gazette

TRAVER – An 18-year-old was killed on Highway 99 last week after getting out of his car to check on a flat tire. 

The man, whose name is being withheld pending notification of his family, was driving a 2009 Honda sedan northbound on Highway 99 when he pulled onto the right shoulder of the road one mile south of Merritt Drive after his rear driver’s side tire had gone flat. 

The accident happened at about 7:42 p.m. on April 8 when the 18-year-old was struck by a 2009 International tractor trailer as it passed in the slow lane of traffic, according to the California Highway Patrol. The teenager was standing outside of his vehicle to check on the tire and sustained fatal injuries. He was pronounced dead at the scene. 

The driver of the tractor trailer, 41-year-old Richard Vargas of Visalia, stopped immediately after the collision and remained on scene until officers arrived. It was cloudy and raining at the time of the accident and the sun had set around the time of the accident. 

No drugs or alcohol are suspected to be a factor at this time but the cause of the collision is still pending further investigation.  

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