Rodney Blanco Killed in San Joaquin County, CA Crossover Accident
San Joaquin County, CA — July 12, 2022, 67-year-old Rodney Blanco was killed in a crossover collision with a tractor-trailer on Highway 120 in San Joaquin County.
According to reports the incident happened around 2:00 p.m. on Hwy 120 near Sexton Road. Preliminary investigation suggests Blanco was headed west in a Ford vehicle when he lost control for unknown reasons and crossed over into the oncoming lanes. Once there the Ford collided head-on with a Peterbilt 18-wheeler.
Blanco was pronounced dead at the scene. The truck driver was unhurt.
The investigation continues. No further information is currently available.
Commentary on Rodney Blanco Accident in San Joaquin County
The news suggests the victim may have triggered this wreck by crossing left of center. However, it's important to remember that early reports from news sources and police aren't always 100% right.
I recently worked on a similar wreck in which a victim supposedly crossed the center line and crashed with an 18-wheeler. We looked again on behalf of the victim's family and our investigators learned he was only in the opposite lane to escape the truck, which crossed over first. It turned out the trucker fell asleep and drifted out of his lane, only to wake up when the victim honked at him. He then swerved back into his lane, once again on a collision course with the victim.
The victim couldn't avoid the truck again, but he certainly wasn't to blame for the crash. Because police found both vehicles in the truck's lane when they got there, though, they said he crossed over first. There were no witnesses but the sleepy trucker, who felt no need to set the record straight. If we hadn't looked again, the wrong person might have taken the blame forever.
I'm not saying anything like that happened on Highway 120. Even if authorities are 100% sure the victim crossed over first, though, there's still the question of why. Some may reflexively blame one common driver mistake or another, but there are many other reasons someone might lose control. Could the Ford have blown a tire or had a mechanical failure? What about the driver--did he have some kind of medical episode at the wheel? Things like that may not be as common as texting or falling asleep, but they can't be dismissed without proper investigation.
The takeaway here is that things aren't always as straightforward as they first appear. Ensuring the full story is found often requires independent accident reconstruction experts with the time and training to do a more thorough job. At the very least, the victims' loved ones deserve to know every effort was made to bring them answers. Any steps beyond that would depend on what those answers are.