The case of an unidentified 65-year-old woman from California being run over by a truck driver at the Pilot Travel Center in Ellensburg, Washington, is causing some to question the defense of the truck driver. Some pundits are going to the driver’s defense, claiming he could not see the woman walking across the parking lot, but I’m thinking there might be something else going on.
Is it another needless death due to distracted driving?
Let’s start our crime scene investigation with a nice satellite image from Google Earth. I’ve personally parked at this particular Pilot quite a few times myself. It was the one (or the Love’s across the street) I stayed overnight on my way back from Seattle’s Kenworth plant. That was back when I was under contract to haul “cooling systems” from the Cummins plant in Charleston, South Carolina.
Pundits claim the driver couldn’t see the woman because of a blind spot in front of the truck. OK, let’s take this back a few steps. The truck entering the parking lot is traveling quite slowly, just coming off the street. He’s doing a couple of miles per hour, at most.
The approximate length from the street to the point of impact is at least 300 feet, using the 70-foot-long tractor trailers as references. At five miles per hour crawling across the parking lot, that is around 40 seconds of travel time. That’s plenty of time to make a couple of visual sweeps around your truck.
What if the lady did not see the driver?
One thing I will take into consideration is that the truck is on the right side and “could she have not seen or heard the driver coming?” OK, let’s look at this again, using the video from Alex Mai from the Asian Mai Show. We can almost find the exact location of the woman using the fuel island and the trailer on the right side of the video.
You have to turn a fair distance before approaching the fuel pumps, so again, you would have to slow down. Maybe the driver was distracted, looking for an empty lane at the pumps.
Or was he distracted in other ways by being on the phone or operating his ELD/GPS? The police investigation is ongoing.
Sadly, the woman lost her life that day. She was attended to by paramedics before being flown to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, where she later died from her injuries.
No charges have been filed against the driver so far. BTU is monitoring this case for further developments.