• July 12, 2022

Alfonso Chavez Killed by 18-Wheeler on Jensen Ave in Fresno County, CA

UPDATE (July 14, 2022): The victim of this accident has been identified as 33-year-old Alfonso Chavez.

Fresno County, CA — July 11, 2022, a 33-year-old cyclist was killed in a collision with a tractor-trailer on Jensen Avenue in rural Fresno County.

According to reports the incident happened around 3:45 a.m. along Jensen Avenue near De Wolf Avenue. Preliminary investigation suggests the cyclist was riding east on Jensen when a big rig approached him from behind. Reports say the cyclist swerved left into the truck's path and the two collided.

The cyclist was ejected and suffered fatal injuries. The truck driver, unhurt, remained at the scene. No charges are expected.

No further information is available at this time.

Commentary on Alfonso Chavez Accident in Fresno County

Reports suggest the victim swerved his bike into the path of the 18-wheeler, leaving the truck driver with no options but to hit him. I have no specific reason to doubt that story as it's told, but at the same time I can't help but wonder if anyone else saw what happened or if police narratives are based almost entirely on what the truck driver said happened.

There are two serious problems with situations like that: First, reports should be based on objective facts derived through careful investigation--not just the story told by someone with a stake in the investigation's outcome. That's not to say the truck driver lied, only that people have a tendency to minimize their own roles in bad situations and that personal points of view can affect how they describe a situation.

Alfonso Chavez Killed by 18-Wheeler on Jensen Ave in Fresno County, CA

Furthermore, decades in this field have taught me that people tend to think the worst of anything besides cars or trucks in these situations. Bicyclists, motorcyclists, and pedestrians (among others) are often blamed for accidents just by virtue of being there at all, which is obviously unfair.

With those hitches in mind, it's obviously important that investigators look carefully at the scene and gather any and all sources of clear data they can find--including things like the truck's dashcam footage and the driver's cell phone usage records, two things the driver and his employer may not willingly hand over if there's a chance something incriminating might be on them. That information would be crucial to understanding what really happened, though, so if law enforcement doesn't actively pursue it then the victim's loved ones may need the help of other allies to be sure the whole story is learned.

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