More Details Released in Truck Driver's Death After Family Demands Answersby Jana Ritter - Published: 9/23/2015
After a truck driver was killed last week at the Port of Long Beach, the family has been demanding more answers and has publicly stated that the port has not been forthcoming with information despite their numerous calls. On Tuesday, the family held a press conference along with their attorneys and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters asking for the port to provide more information and for public’s help in finding out what happened to 26-year-old William Vasquez. Vasquez worked as an independent contract truck driver for California Multimodal LLC and was killed on September 16 while he was working at the Long Beach port.
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On Wednesday, the Long Beach Police Department responded by releasing more details to the media. According to LBPD press release, the Long Beach port police responded to an accident at 700 Pier A Way, at around 8:47AM on Wednesday, September 16. They discovered William Vasquez lying on the ground next to a trailer and about 30 feet behind a 2009 Sterling 3-axle tractor. Investigators believe he had exited his tractor without putting it in park or setting the emergency brake. They say that he had also been on his cellphone at the time and when he tried to unlatch his trailer, it slowly began to roll forward and struck him. Vasquez was pronounced dead at the scene by emergency responders from the Long Beach Fire Department.
At the Tuesday press conference held in Los Angeles, the truck driver’s father, Wilfredo Vasquez, said that immediately after he was told that his son was in an accident, he rushed to port. “I was calling my son in hopes that he would answer and that would mean he is alive,” Vasquez said. He also said that this is the hardest thing he has dealt with as a father and that he has not yet seen his son’s body. William Vasquez had been a truck driver for 3 years and his father said said that he had worked hard to recently lease a new car and was very excited that he had just gone into escrow on a house. The family’s attorneys, Juan J. Dominguez and George Singer of The Dominguez Firm said that in the days following Vasquez’s death, the family wasn’t able to get any information about the obvious questions they wanted answers to and that the port wasn't even returning their calls. On Tuesday's press conference, Dominguez told the media that it wasn’t acceptable to the family and that as their lawyers they intend to seek the truth and would even take legal action if necessary. “The family is owed an explanation and the family wants to know what happened at the port,” he said.
Also on Tuesday, port Chief Executive Jon Slangerup made a public statement about Vasquez’s "unfortunate" death. “Our sympathies go to his family and friends. Cal/OSHA is currently investigating his death,” he said. The family has not yet commented on whether they are satisfied with the details provided by the Wednesday press release issued by the LBPD. In the meantime, a spokesperson for Cal/OSHA has confirmed it is also actively investigating Vasquez’s death but could not release more information at this time.