A truck accident on the California border triggered a chain reaction on May 21 that caused the death of four people and injuries to seven others aboard a bus. The secondary collision happened because of steel pipes that fell off of the semi truck. This is a tragic example of how objects in the road can cause serious harm.

It was early in the morning, and an 18 wheeler was on Interstate 10, close to the border with Arizona and headed east. Somehow, the truck jackknifed onto the median, causing the steel pipes it was hauling to spill onto both sides of I-10.

A bus with 32 people aboard was caught by the pipes. The driver may have swerved to try to avoid them, or the bus may have hit the heavy metal debris. Either way, the bus overturned onto the shoulder. It slid 50 feet down an embankment. A passenger recalled hitting the ceiling and landing on someone else, who he realized was dead.

In all, four people died in the crash. Another seven were survived, but were taken to area hospitals with serious injuries.

Important questions remain about this terrible incident. Why did the semi jackknife? Was there a mechanical failure? Was the driver fatigued? Speeding?

Perhaps more importantly, investigators will have to determine why the pipes fell off the truck. If they were not properly secured, the victims’ deaths could have been due to negligence by the truck driver or his employer. Those responsible for reasonably preventable deaths and injuries in motor vehicle accidents should not be allowed to get off the hook for their disregard for human life.

Source: CBS News, “Deadly bus crash near California-Arizona border,” May 21, 2014