Driver killed Friday by flying debris on Highway 101 identified

Mountain View man struck in neck by large metal screw-on nozzle cap, Caltrans official said

An 82-year-old man who died while driving his car on U.S. Highway 101 in Menlo Park on Friday was likely struck by debris that came off a state-owned truck, a Caltrans spokesman said.

The man, identified as Louis Schaefer of Mountain View, died after being struck in the neck by what appears to be a large metal screw-on nozzle cap that came off the back of a Caltrans water truck, Caltrans spokesman Myeast McCauley said.

The cap came off the back of the truck, which was traveling south in the far right lane near Willow Road, somehow flew across several lanes of traffic and broke through Schaefer's windshield as he was driving in the northbound fast lane, McCauley said.

These kinds of caps are usually secured by a metal chain, McCauley said, and it's still unclear how it got loose.

After being struck, Schaefer struck the center divider before

eventually coming to a stop. No other vehicles were involved.

Since the accident, Schaefer's family has been besieged with interview requests and issued a brief written statement today in the hope that those requests will stop, said family friend Barbara Feder Ostrov.

"We are grieving the loss of our father. He was a brilliant electrical engineer who spent most of his career at SRI International in Menlo Park," the family statement said. "Family members will not be holding a press conference or giving interviews. We have no further comment at this time and ask that our privacy be respected."

The family also praised the drivers who stopped to try to help Schaefer and thanked the California Highway Patrol and the San Mateo County coroner's office.

The CHP investigation into Schaefer's death is still underway.

"Caltrans offers its deepest condolences to Mr. Schaefer's family and friends," McCauley said.


4 people like this
Posted by Hulkamania
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 19, 2016 at 6:52 pm

Hulkamania is a registered user.

From LA Times Web Link

3 people like this
Posted by james
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Sep 20, 2016 at 7:59 am

looks like a "road find" something a worker finds on the road and likes so he just throws it on the side tool box any old where and it bounces out later

1 person likes this
Posted by Cid Young
a resident of another community
on Sep 20, 2016 at 11:18 am

Tragic. My heartfelt condolences to the family.

1 person likes this
Posted by Sea Reddy
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 20, 2016 at 11:27 am

Very sad to see this happen.

My prayers.

44 people like this
Posted by Richard C. Placone
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 20, 2016 at 2:47 pm

Lou Schaefer was much more than a brilliant electronics engineer. He was a kind, gentle human being, a man with great spiritual insights, who took life's ups and downs calmly and who was devoted to his three children and their families. He was also my very special friend for well over 20 years. Our friendship included two other buddies with whom we met twice a month, once for lunch and once for breakfast coffee. We sometimes attended lectures together, and spent hours of conversation trying to resolve all the world's problems. We also helped each other solve our own personal problems, or at least give an ear when we needed to vent. A number of years ago we four rented an RV in Anchorage, Alaska,and spent 11 days exploring that beautiful state. He leaves an empty spot in our lives, all the more painful because of the freakish suddenness of his death. Rest in peace, dear friend.

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