CHP releases details about truck driver in fatal big rig crash

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SAN DIEGO – The driver of a big rig that caused a freeway crash that killed two people and injured six others was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and the truck did not appear to have any mechanical problems, investigators said Thursday.

The driver of the Freightliner tractor-trailer told officers that she lost control of the empty trailer Wednesday afternoon as she was merging onto southbound state Route 125 from westbound Interstate 8, according to the California Highway Patrol. The truck veered sharply to the left, crashing through a metal barrier, continued across three lanes of northbound Route 125 and plowed through a concrete divider before smashing into a Chevrolet Aveo on the connector to eastbound I-8. The truck and the Aveo then crashed into a Kia Sorento. Two Ramona women in the Chevrolet died and four people in the Kia were injured.

The big rig driver, whose name has not been released, was coming from Calexico, the CHP said. She and a man who was sleeping in the bunk in the cab were also injured in the crash.

Investigators have not found any signs of brake failure or other mechanical problems with the Freightliner, so far, CHP Officer Ben Demarest told reporters Thursday, but he cautioned that the crash investigation has not been completed. They also don't believe that the driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The driver could still face charges related to the fatal crash, he said.