1 dead in freeway crash between pickup, big rig


UPDATE (Friday, Feb. 8): The Kern County coroner's office has identified this driver as 47-year-old Robert Matthew Espinoza, of Delano.


BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) – The driver of a pickup died Thursday morning when his vehicle slammed into the back of a big rig trailer on southbound Highway 99 near 7th Standard Road.

California Highway Patrol Officer Robert Rodriguez said the pickup driver must’ve been traveling at “considerable speed” to hit the big rig’s trailer with such force while the semitruck was moving about 55 mph.

The CHP said distracted driving might’ve contributed to crash, but the cause remains under investigation.

Rodriguez said the semitruck driver felt an impact, pulled over, and saw the pickup wedged under the trailer.

One lane of the freeway was closed while emergency workers attended to the crash. Rodriguez said traffic was backed up quite a distance.

“This is a very busy commute hour,” he said.

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