Three siblings are dead and a fourth was hospitalized in critical condition after their SUV rear-ended a tractor trailer parked on the shoulder of a highway. The trucker says he was parked there because he couldn’t find a parking spot and his hours of service were up.
It was around 1 a.m. on Thursday, February 28th, when the accident occurred. Eli, Sarah, Eva, and Aaron Villareal were driving west on I-80 in Emeryville, California in the San Francisco metro area. The siblings were headed to the hospital to see their terminally ill father.
Investigators don’t yet know why the SUV drifted onto the shoulder, but say the conditions and speed could have been factors.
“The roadway was slick,” CHP spokesman Officer Herman Baza said. “The car did lose control, so we will see if that was part of it. When it’s wet or inclement weather, what we tell people is slow down, slow down, slow down.”
Whatever the reason, their vehicle slammed into the back of a parked truck, and was wedged underneath the trailer. The three older siblings all died in the crash, but 17-year-old Aaron survived with serious injuries.
According to police, the truck driver was asleep inside of his truck at the time and was uninjured. The unnamed driver was ticketed for parking illegally on the shoulder of the highway. CHP says that the driver told them that he had parked there because he hadn’t been able to find a legal place to park before his hours were up.
The trucker did not immediately face any charges other than illegal parking, but authorities say that the investigation is ongoing. CHP says that they still may decide to issue additional charges.
“That truck was in the wrong place– it was in the wrong place,” said bereaved mother Yanira Villareal according to ABC7.
“Maybe it would have been a different story, maybe I would’ve had my siblings or at least some of them still,” said Dan Villareal. “I don’t know. Only God knows, but we want answers. I want an answer– I want to know why.”