Two Missing Truck Drivers Today's Top Newsby Jana Ritter - Published: 2/07/2013
While its two very different set of circumstances in two different states, two missing truck-drivers are the major topic of Thursday's headline news. In California, investigators searching for a missing truck driver have found human remains they believe to be Oscar Javier Contreras Escobar, the 29-year old self-employed truck driver missing since last August. In Metairie, Louisiana, authorities have recovered the dump truck that exploded Wednesday afternoon before crashing into Lake Pontchartrain off the Causeway, but the driver was not inside the vehicle and has yet to be found.
As divers start to search the lake for the driver believed to have been inside his truck when it went off the bridge, police in California have long been investigating Escobar's disappearance as suspicious and involving foul play. Last seen on August 28th, 2012, the young truck driver had finished his deliveries for the day and a friend dropped him off near the intersection of Foothill Boulevard and Mango Avenue in Fontana. While Escobar is originally from the Laguna Hills area, the investigation eventually led detectives to a residence located on the 1700 block of South Palm Avenue in Ontario California. After chasing several leads that included suspicious activity on Escobar's ATM card, police followed the trail to where the house became a major part of the investigation last November.
On January 30th, they served a search warrant on the house, where two men and woman were present at the time. While all three individuals were interviewed and released, the Ontario police began focusing on the porch area where of the backyard. Last week they found something of "strong evidentiary value", enough to bring in additional crew and begin a painstaking process of 20 people digging on their hands and knees, combing every inch of the yard. With the help of a tractor, they dug as deep as six feet underground in some places and eventually it was cadaver dogs that led them to charred human remains. While, the case has been deemed a homicide and San Bernardino County forensics experts are analyzing bone fragments and teeth to determine if the remains belong to Escobar, no arrests have been made.
Meanwhile, the friends and family members of the missing Louisiana driver are keeping a vigil as authorities continue to search the river. The bridge was closed most of Thursday as divers from the St. Tammany and Jefferson Parish sheriff's offices and crews worked throughout the day to lift the 35,000-pound truck out of the water and remove from the site with the help of a flat-bed truck.” The truck had significant damage," said Causeway Director Carlton Dufrechou. "We do not know what caused the initial impact, but there was an explosion associated with it." Witnesses reported seeing a ball of fire as the truck crashed into the guard railing, taking down about 100 feet of the railing before plunging into the water.
Neither the name of the driver, nor the trucking company he worked for have been disclosed.