Truck Driver Unhitches Trailer To Flee Deadly Crash Sceneby Jana Ritter - Published: 5/02/2016
Police are searching for a big rig driver accused of fleeing the scene of a deadly crash in Vernon, California on Saturday. Authorities say that he was first involved in a minor accident, took off from that scene and then ran a red light, which caused him to collide with a pick-up truck. The passenger of the pick-up was pronounced dead at the scene. The big rig driver unhitched his trailer and drove away in his cab. Unfortunately, it’s these irresponsible types that often give all truck drivers a bad name.
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According to police, the incident occurred at about 3:10 am Saturday morning near 37th Street and Santa Fe Avenue in Vernon, CA. Authorities say the semi-truck was first involved in a minor crash around that location and several witnesses saw the truck driver flee the scene of the initial incident. Some had even followed the driver and saw him run a red light, then crash into a pick-up truck. Tragically, they also saw the semi-truck drag the heavy pickup truck for several feet before stopping. The truck driver then jumped out to unhook the cab from the trailer, jumped back in the cab and fled the scene. Authorities later found the trailer's cab abandoned in a parking lot on 26th and Soto streets. A nearby restaurant employee said she found a 12 pack of beer next to the cab with two missing.
When authorities arrived at the crash site, the truck driver was long gone and they found the pick-up truck mangled underneath the trailer of the big rig. Both the driver and the passenger of the pickup were trapped inside and firefighters used the Jaws of Life to remove them from the wreckage. Police say the driver of the pick-up was transported to USC Medical Center in stable condition and is expected to recover. However, the passenger of the pick-up did not survive the crash and was pronounced dead at the scene. On Sunday, the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner identified the man as
Armando Murillo of Pacoima, CA. He was only 28 years of age.
Investigators have been piecing together witness statements and working to find surveillance footage that may have captured the truck driver who fled the violent scene. Police announced they are searching for Guillermo Ortiz Jr., and are calling him a “person of interest” believed to have information on the crash. At this time authorities say he is only wanted for questioning. No details have been released regarding whom the truck driver worked for or whether or not he was on the job when the incident occurred.