• May 17, 2022

Modesto Talamantes, Thomas Ornelaz Killed in Semi-Truck Accident in Los Angeles, CA

UPDATE (May 20, 2022): Reports have now identified the two victims killed in the crash as 51-year-old Modesto Talamantes and 40-year-old Thomas Ornelaz. Additional details about the crash are unavailable.

Los Angeles, CA -- May 16, 2022, two people were killed after an accident where a car crashed with a tractor-trailer along the 210 Freeway.

Authorities reported that the crash took place at around 5:00 p.m. along the freeway in the Sunland-Tujunga area. Police said that a car was going along the freeway when it somehow crashed into the back of a commercial truck.

Due to the collision, two people in the car sustained fatal injuries. Additional details about the crash are unavailable at this time.

Commentary on Modesto Talamantes, Thomas Ornelaz Semi-Truck Accident in Los Angeles

Something I come across a lot is people who jump to conclusions when they read something they think is straight-forward or simple. For example, these reports say that the victims' car rear-ended the tractor-trailer. That obviously means the victim driving the car did something wrong, right? Well, not exactly. It is common for this sort of thing to be the result of things like speeding, distracted driving, fatigue, alcohol, etc. But are those the only things to consider? Of course not.

Modesto Talamantes, Thomas Ornelaz Semi-Truck Accident Los Angeles, CA

Even if other factors seem unlikely, it's important to consider any possible factor that may have played a role in the crash. California law makes this especially crucial given that all parties involved are generally on the hook for their portion of responsibility--whether it's 100%, 50%, or 1%. This stands out seeing how the semi involved may have been parked on the shoulder. While that may not seem important, there are unique laws for trucks stopping along a freeway which many less responsible truck drivers ignore.

Did the truck have markings placed behind them? Were they fully on the shoulder? Did they stop for an appropriate reason like a medical emergency or for something avoidable, like looking for directions, sleeping, eating, etc.? I'm not saying anything like that happened here, but it's frustrating when folks come to me for help, and my investigations show that authorities didn't even bother looking into these possibilities. Shouldn't grieving families at least know they're getting the full story? I think most would agree they do, which is why it's often necessary to ensure there are inde[pendent investigations into a crash like this, even if things seem straight-forward in the news.

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