Chain-reaction automobile accidents usually begin with inattentive drivers losing control of their vehicle and thereby creating a hazard for following vehicles. A recent five-car accident in Menlo Park apparently began when an inattentive driver collided with a construction barrier. A second vehicle crashed into the first, and three more cars were involved before police arrived.
The motor vehicle accident began at about 2:35 a.m. when a vehicle that was northbound on Highway 101 veered left and crashed into a water-filled crash attenuator. The car rolled over and came to rest in the northbound lane. The four occupants, including the driver, were able to evacuate the car just seconds before it was struck by a grey car traveling northbound. A third vehicle managed to stop before hitting either of the first two vehicles, but before its occupants could leave the vehicle, it was struck by yet another car going northbound. The driver of the first vehicle was able to move the car under its own power to a nearby side road. Finally, a northbound car struck the fourth vehicles.
When officers arrived at the scene, they arrested the driver of the first car and the driver of the fourth vehicle on suspicion of driving under the influence. Two of the three passengers in the first car, the one that began the chain-reaction, were seriously injured and were taken to Stanford Hospital. The driver of the grey car and the driver of the fourth vehicle were treated for minor injuries before they were arrested and taken to San Mateo County Jail.
Identifying the exact cause of three collisions will require an extensive investigation by the California Highway Patrol and San Mateo County Sheriff’s office. Road conditions, visibility, the speed of the various cars and other factors will be studied before liability for the accident can be positively determined. Anyone who has been injured or lost a loved one in a similar multi-vehicle accident may wish to consult an experienced personal injury attorney for an evaluation of the evidence and an estimate of the likelihood of recovering damage for medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering.