Questions linger in fatal truck crash

Bouquets, stuffed animals and balloons piled up at a makeshift memorial Tuesday in the grocery store parking lot near where a truck accident killed a 9-year-old boy and critically injured several others less than 24 hours earlier.

The boy, whose identity was being withheld Tuesday pending family notification, was killed when a debris-hauling truck careened down a hill through an intersection, hitting an SUV. The truck and SUV then slid about 100 feet, hitting seven cars and a pedestrian in the parking lot of Mollie Stone’s at 43rd and Olympic avenues.

Two of the three people injured, a 30-year-old woman and a 53-year-old woman, were taken to the Intensive Care Unit at Stanford Medical Center, according to San Mateo Police Lt. Mike Brunicardi. The third, a 62-year-old woman, was held for observation, Brunicardi said.

Witnesses said the boy’s mother was among those critically injured, and that she was pregnant.

Linda Nishimura and her 6-year-old son came by the parking lot Tuesday to leave flowers. She said her car was among those hit — but she and her son were inside the store.

“It was very hard to sleep last night because all I could see was the woman and her son in the car,” she said.

Nine-year-old Marissa Spadoni and her mother came to the memorial after school. She said she had known the boy since kindergarten. She smiled when she talked about him, saying he loved to play Pokemon.

Writing on the memorial indicated the boy's name was “Tylor.”

She said her class at Laurel Elementary School spent the day talking about the boy and what it would be like to be in such a bad accident.

“Everyone was having a hard day,” she said.

San Mateo police are conducting a thorough review to determine what caused the truck to blow through the stop sign at 43rd and Olympic avenues, according to Brunicardi. Officials at the scene on Monday said the truck appeared to experience a mechanical malfunction.

“Our crash investigation unit will look at this extensively, because this is obviously a priority,” said Brunicardi. “We’re not eliminating any possibilities right now about why the truck was unable to stop at the intersection.”

Brunicardi said the truck driver was cooperative with officials and was not arrested or cited at the scene Monday.

Brunicardi would not speculate about how long the accident investigation would last. He said inspectors in the department should be able to determine how fast the truck and SUV were traveling when they hit the parked vehicles based on debris left at the incident. He said more details about the accident would be released when the investigation is completed.

Steve Wagstaffe of the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office said his agency was working with the police concerning the accident. He said it would likely be weeks before the investigation is completed, at which time the department would decide whether to press charges.

The driver of the truck worked for Century Roof Tile, a company based out of Hayward, employees at the business confirmed Tuesday. They would not comment further on the driver or the incident until the police department completed its report, the worker said.

Mollie Stone’s was open for business Tuesday, one day following the incident, workers confirmed.

kworth@sfexaminer.com
wreisman@sfexaminer.com

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