News


One dies in crash between box truck and fire truck on U.S. Highway 101 in Palo Alto

Man succumbed to injuries at Stanford Hospital

A man died when he rear-ended a box truck into a Palo Alto Fire Department fire truck responding to an earlier car crash on U.S. Highway 101 in Palo Alto early Sunday morning, according to the California Highway Patrol.

He was identified as 47-year-old Joeffrey Catahan of Union City, according to the Santa Clara County Coroner-Medical Examiner's Office.

The first crash involving a black Honda Accord was reported at 3:29 a.m. just south of Embarcadero Road. Officer David Morey said the driver of the sedan crashed due to high speeds and suffered minor injuries.

Around 4:30 a.m., the white, 30-foot-long box truck traveling at freeway speeds struck one of two fire trucks that were in the slow lane, the California Highway Patrol said. The driver of the box truck was transported to Stanford Hospital, where he died about 90 minutes later. There was no fire personnel in the fire truck at the time of the collision. Police have not determined what caused the box truck driver to hit the fire truck, which had its emergency lights on at the time of the crash, according to the CHP. Both vehicles sustained major damage from the crash.

Morey said hazmat crews worked to clean up 100 gallons of diesel that spilled on the roadway. The southbound lanes were closed between 6:50 a.m. and 12:20 p.m. at Embarcadero Road on Sunday, Morey said.

Investigators are looking into whether drugs or alcohol was a factor in the crash, according to the CHP. Anyone with information on the crash can call Officer M. Caponera, ID 21843, at 650-369-6261.

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Comments

9 people like this
Posted by NearBy Neighbor
a resident of Mountain View
on Aug 4, 2019 at 12:42 pm

Wow. Sad the truck driver didn't make it. I heard the firefighters used Jaws of Life to get him out and rushed him to hospital.
Thank you firefighters for the dangerous work you do. It sounds like this was a very close call, almost had a firefighter seriously injured or worse.

Palo Alto Online: Any pictures of damged truck or fire engine ?


Like this comment
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 4, 2019 at 6:35 pm

^ Photos currently available on our Fire Department Facebook page.

facebook.com/PaloAltoFire -- not posting the whole URL because I don't know
what it does if you don't have a Facebook account. Nothing on their Twitter page.


2 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Woodland Ave. area (East Palo Alto)
on Aug 4, 2019 at 9:41 pm

This is a good reason to start phasing out huge fire equipment in response to vehicle accidents.


17 people like this
Posted by SmartCarRescue
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 4, 2019 at 9:51 pm

Phase out big Fire Apparatus on incidents like this?
Great. Let’s have responders go in Small Smart Cars.
That will help shield them from the sleep deprived, drunk drivers, texting drivers etc who may hit them.
Great idea.


5 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Woodland Ave. area (East Palo Alto)
on Aug 4, 2019 at 11:27 pm

About a month ago, there was a an accident that happened in the south bound lane of 101. All the lights and apparatus caused a distraction that resulted in a three car pile up in the north bound lane. A women that was involved in that accident was struck and killed as she tried to get out of the vehicle.

It appears that the fire truck was blocking the right lane and the vehicle in involved in the incident was pulled over to the side.. Let us see how this pans out with the insurance companies and or in civil court.




2 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 5, 2019 at 3:26 am

More Fire Department details on a KPIX/CBS page -- Web Link
No info yet whether the $600,000 fire engine is repairable or we're buying a new one.


10 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Woodland Ave. area (East Palo Alto)
on Aug 5, 2019 at 5:23 am

Most medium size commercial trucks like the white one in this accident are under
26,000 pounds gross vehicle weight.
This is the biggest truck a person can drive with a regular drivers license.A majority of these trucks are made in Mexico and shipped here. This the main reason why AB 60 was passed. AB 60 allows undocumented drivers to drive these huge trucks. This law was not for our safety, it was passed so the companies can have cheap labor be to ship thier goods.e
Expect many more accidents like this one.


6 people like this
Posted by @resident
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Aug 5, 2019 at 7:11 am

That did not take long. Undocumented drivers was at fault again.???lol lol @resident Do all your arguments have to do with Mexico and undocumented???. Pathetic. Made in mexico and shipped here. lol lol lol . Might be the dumbest thing i have ever heard.


17 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Aug 5, 2019 at 8:41 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"It appears that the fire truck was blocking the right lane and the vehicle in involved in the incident was pulled over to the side.."

Fire trucks do exactly that to protect the accident site and the first responders from speeding vehicles.

" All the lights and apparatus caused a distraction that resulted in a three car pile up in the north bound lane. "

Flashing red lights mean SLOW DOWN - clearly the distracted drivers were not paying attention.


6 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 5, 2019 at 9:02 am

This collision happened at 3:30am on Sunday morning. Collisions at that hour are usually caused by something other than distracted driving. I'm sure the coroner will do the appropriate blood tests.


Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Aug 5, 2019 at 9:12 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Strange -
Resident states "All the lights and apparatus caused a distraction that resulted in a three car pile up in the north bound lane."

And then Resident states "This collision happened at 3:30am on Sunday morning. Collisions at that hour are usually caused by something other than distracted driving. "


2 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 5, 2019 at 9:14 am

These two accidents could both have been caused or partly caused by sleepy drivers. True that drugs/alcohol could have been part of the cause too, but sleepy drivers is becoming more and more of a problem. Sleep deprived drivers are becoming an issue.


4 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Aug 5, 2019 at 10:45 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Resident - Thank you for acknowledging that the accident was not caused by the fire engine's ""All the lights and apparatus"


7 people like this
Posted by who follows safety standards?
a resident of Meadow Park
on Aug 5, 2019 at 10:58 am

> AB 60 allows undocumented drivers to drive these huge trucks.

Simple - union truck drivers, like the union firefighters. First and foremost, a union supports driver and public safety by preventing unsafe driving conditions - too many hours behind the wheel, follow existing safety laws that are ignored, etc..

We learned the value of unions and public safety as they rose during the last Gilded Age.

Works well, until most of the drivers are replaced by self driving vehicles anyway.


2 people like this
Posted by Old Palo,Alto
a resident of Professorville
on Aug 5, 2019 at 11:48 am

Old Palo,Alto is a registered user.

Does not seem safe to park a vehicle in a traffic lane?
Why not park on side
Or post flag man .


3 people like this
Posted by nat
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 5, 2019 at 12:31 pm

I'm confused. Why was the fire truck blocking the lane instead of off to the side?
Were lights flashing or a flag being waved to warn drivers in the slow lane to stop or change lanes?


4 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 5, 2019 at 12:47 pm

This article is poorly written. If you read the police press release, the police had closed the right lane of the freeway so they could work to clear a prior collision. Fortunately, they had used a big heavy truck to close the lane, otherwise the whole crew could have been killed by the second collision.


8 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Aug 5, 2019 at 12:49 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" Why was the fire truck blocking the lane instead of off to the side?"


Fire trucks do exactly that to protect the accident site and the first responders from speeding vehicles.

And they also flash all of their red lights so that everyone approaching the location is warned and expected to slow down.


2 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Woodland Ave. area (East Palo Alto)
on Aug 5, 2019 at 6:59 pm

@ @ Resident

"That did not take long. Undocumented drivers was at fault again.???lol lol @resident Do all your arguments have to do with Mexico and undocumented???. Pathetic. Made in mexico and shipped here. lol lol lol . Might be the dumbest thing i have ever heard."




The only thing that is "dumb" or "pathetic" is folks like you actually endorse and vote for policies like these.




2 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Woodland Ave. area (East Palo Alto)
on Aug 5, 2019 at 7:08 pm

At Resident Downtown North

If the fire department is going to use this policy of using a $600,000 fire truck to block a lane, instead they should get a used Cal Tran truck, the one with the huge water bladder/bumper on the the rear of the vehicle. Maybe if used that, they would have saved the taxpayers $600,000 in damage. And maybe that poor guy might still be alive.


9 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Aug 5, 2019 at 7:12 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Resident - Guess what - the fire engine was the First Response Unit.

Protecting the firefighters, the other on scene responders and the citizens present was the firefighters FIRST responsibility.

Fire engines can be replaced, lives cannot be.


2 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Woodland Ave. area (East Palo Alto)
on Aug 5, 2019 at 7:38 pm

Tell that to the family of the dead guy that was driving the white truck.


4 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Aug 5, 2019 at 7:45 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The guy driving the white truck was the person who screwed up - there were flashing red lights all over the place and he drove into the fire engine!

The fire engine was parked exactly where it should have been parked and all of its lights were flashing.

The driver of the white truck lost his life because he failed to respond to all of those flashing red lights not because the fire engine was parked where it was parked.






2 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Woodland Ave. area (East Palo Alto)
on Aug 5, 2019 at 8:13 pm

You are probably right, but let's wait untill after the investigation.

It still does not change the fact that anybody with a regular drivers license can drive a huge truck, like the one that was involved in the accident.unfortunatly, bad accidents are a weekly occurrence in this area of 101.


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