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.