Big-Rig Driver Killed In Sunnyvale Crash On Highway 237

SUNNYVALE (CBS SF) — The California Highway Patrol has reopened one lane of westbound Highway 237 after a fatal crash in Sunnyvale on Tuesday afternoon that shut down the roadway in both directions, an officer said.

The crash was reported around 2:15 p.m. when a big-rig struck the center divide and burst into flames in the eastbound lanes near Mathilda Avenue, CHP Officer Peter Van Eckhardt said.

The driver was killed in the crash, Van Eckhardt said.

The big-rig was carrying a load of dirt, which spilled onto the roadway.

All eastbound lanes are still blocked while crews work to clear the crash, and eastbound traffic is being directed off Highway 237 at U.S. Highway 101.

One westbound lane is open, though traffic continues to be heavy and motorists are advised to avoid the area.

A Sig-alert was issued at 2:26 p.m.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Comments

One Comment

  1. Lori says:

    There was a big pop sound (tire?). Then the truck started to swerve. It rolled and then landed on the center divide. There was fire immediately in the engine. It spread very rapidly. I watched it happen. My heart goes out to the driver’s family.😦

    1. Rhonda Kennedy Wllis says:

      Thank you we are the drivers family, I am his sister inlaw here with his brother who is terrribly upset, hHis name is Don Ellis and his boss had him work all night long and then put him back in that trruck this morning. I am angry and saddned he was a happy full of life man . who will be missed more than words can tell. thank you for your kind words

      1. BOB says:

        if his boss made him work all night and make him go back to work without being off for 10 hours to rest its against the law.

      2. Rhonda Kennedy says:

        bOB YOUR RIGHT AND BELIEVE ME WE ARE TO LOOOK INTO THAT AS WELL AS THE INFORMATION ABOUT THEM KNOWING THE TIRES NEEDED TO BE REPLACED. THIS MAN DIDNT DESERVE TO DIE THIS WAY . … AND IF THAT OWNER KNOWINGLY GREEDILY PUT HIM AT RISK HE WIL PAY.. THANKS

  2. Rhonda Kennedy Ellis says:

    Last name spelled wrond. Rhonda Ellis If there is anything else you remember please let us kinow. Im wondering about the popping sound. I hope he wasnt alive or awake , the thought of him burning to death is more than we can handle. thanks again

    1. Jennifer says:

      I am very sorry for your loss. I am sure you have got alot of questions. I work at a near by recycle plant and on of my customers saw the whole thing. He also heard the pop which was probably the rear tire on the ram. The entire truck started to rock severly it had immediately burst into flames. He said prior to fully stoping it was already engulfed and it took less than 5 minutes and the entire truck was burnt.

      1. Rhonda Kennedy says:

        tHANK YOU FOR YOUR WORDS , YES WE HAVE ALOT OF QUESTIONS. I’M GLAD TO HEAR IT WAS QUICK ANYWAY. IF YOU OONLY KNEW dON HE WAS SO QUICK TO LAUGH , HE WAS A TRUE LIGHT THAT GENERATED WARMTH TO EVERYONE AROUND HIM. i CAN’T BELIEVE i WONT SEE THAT SMILE OR HEAR THAT LAUGH EVER AGAIN, IF THEY KNEW THOSE TIRES NEEDED REPLACEING ….. WELL YOU KNOW THE REST . WE WILL NOT REST UNTIL HE IS VINDICATED. THANK YOU
        SO GLAD NO ONE ELSE GOT HURT. cANT BELIEVE AT THAT TIME OF THE DAY HE DIDNT STRIKE SOMEONE ELSE WOW

    2. Debby Brown says:

      Rhonda I am so very sorry about Don. IHe was a good friend and we all loved him! I still can’t believe it & prayed all night that he was unconcious when it caught fire. I just found out he was not and some people could have helped him but didn’t! OMG! Also, his boss & everyone here knew the tires were bad & needed to be replaced! I hope his boss loses everything. I am so MAD!!!!! I cannot believe I will not be seeing his smiling face anymore! My only comfort is that he is back with Judy. RIP Don we love you so much.

      1. Rhonda Kennedy says:

        hI DEBBIE THANK YOU , YES WE ARE IN SHOCK HIS BROTHER DAN ISNT TAKING IT VERY WELL, ( THEY WERE BEST FRIENDS) i TOO WILL MISS HIS SMILE AND THAT GIGGLE OF HIS.. i JUST CANT BELEIVE …. i JUST WANT TO WAKE UP AND HAVE IT ALL BE A BAD DREAM, AND YOU MUST KNOW IF THAT IS THE CASE WITH THOSE TIRES THERE WILL BE HELL TO PAY. WE MAY NEED TO SPEAK WITH YOU MORE ON THIS MATTER ( I HOPE YOU DONT MIND ) WE HAVE TO FOR DON. THANKS AGAIN.

      2. GREG says:

        WHAT COMPANY IF YOU KNOW???? SORRY FOR YOUR LOSS:(

    3. Lori says:

      I was finally able to give a report to the CHP this morning. I was told it was very helpful. I was also told a man, who had tried to get him out, had said he was motionless. I will pray that meant he was already unconscious. If there hadn’t been fire, I wouldn’t have hesitated to help. I was not equipped to deal with fire. It spread very fast.

      1. Rhonda Kennedy says:

        tHANK YOU SO MUCH lORI NEEDED TO HEAR THAT ABOUT HIM BEING MOTIONLESS, THE THOUGHT OF HIM FIGHTING TO GET OUT WAS MORE THAN WE CAN STAND. yOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW GRATEFUL WE ARE FOR YOUR WORDS. iF ONLY YOU KNEW WHO HE WAS, IF ONLY YOU KNEW. HE DIDNT HAVE THIS COMING. i CANT BELIEVE HE DIED THIS WAY . NOT HIM . tHANK YOU AGAIN

      2. Rhonda Kennedy says:

        tHAK YOU SO MUCH lORI yOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW YOUR WORDS HAVE HELPED. HE WAS TOO GOOD A MAN TO HAVE JUST BEEN FORGOTTEN LIKE WE THOUGHT HE WOULD BE. YOU HAVE PROVEN US WRONG AND FOR THAT I AM VERY GRATEFUL. IM SORRY YOU HAD TO WITTNESS THAT WE HOPE YOU ARE OK. IT MUST HAVE BEEN HORRIBLE TO SEE. I STILL CANT BELIEVE HE DIDNT HIT ANYONE ELSE ON THAT FREEWAY AT THAT TIME OF DAY. THANK GOD NO ONE ELSE HAD TO DIE IN THIS WRECK. THAN YOU AGAIN .

      3. lauraloux says:

        this is lori thankyou for trying to save him please contact me at lauraloux77@google.com

  3. Lori says:

    Rhonda,
    Just before Don lost control, I was thinking rush hour was pretty minimal. There were no cars around him at all. It seemed very strange.
    I am fine, but the wreck has left a big impression on me. I will be sharing what I saw and what I learned with my fellow drivers at our next school bus inservice training.
    I hope you things will get easier for you all. Take Care.

    1. Rhonda Kennedy says:

      Ya Im really surprised that there werent other cars involved at that time of the afternoon , thank God..

  4. Rhonda Kennedy says:

    Thank you Lori and everyone for your kind words and thank you to anyone who tried to help Don. If only you knew who he was…. How happy he was and always no matter what was quick to giggle with a twinkle in his eye. It was an honor to have had him in our lives. .. if only you knew… Thank you Thank you Thank you …..for everything. The blogs somehow help. god bless

  5. Rhonda Kennedy says:

    I now after some time has gone by , have gien it much thought and I no longer hold the company responsible for this , Don was a grown man who could have said no if he needed more sleep, as it is it looks like it was a tire blow and not caused by lack of sleep. Im told with all that weight on the truck its not surprising a tire blew and would be very hard to control. Im also told that the only tires needing to be replaced didnt blow it was one of the good tires. so I guess it was just one of those things that you hope to God doesn’t happen. The really hard part to swallow is His father died the same way, only he was driving a gas truck that caught on fire. Now his brother is afraid to get back on the road and drive again, which is something he has done for 30 years. so sad. Thank you again everyong for everything ………………. I miss him so much ……

  6. Philip says:

    I was traveling just a couple of cars back on East 237. I was there seconds after the accident and was there to try and help. If I am not mistaken, I was first to approach the vehicle on the east bound side. I was unable to see inside the cab or even approach the vehicle due to the fire spreading so rapidly. I don’t agree with the above comment that people were there and could have helped but didn’t. I ran up to the truck but was unable to even get close. The fire spread so quickly. I can tell you that I did not hear anything other then the crackling of the flames. I am so sorry that I could not do anything to get him out. I am still bothered by this.

  7. Philip says:

    I do believe that it was a tire that blew. I do have pictures that show the tire in the middle of the street and the skid marks going directly into the wall. I also have some pictures that may be very difficult to view, but show the truck during the different stages of the time I was there, about 45 minutes as the first vehicle directly behind the truck. Let me know if you have any questions. I would like to help with anything I can. I am so sorry for your lost.

    1. Rhonda Kennedy says:

      Thank you so so very much Phillip We are so sorry you had to see that. Please accept our heart felt gratidude for what you tried to do and for coming forward. We check this often hoping to hear more. please if you would contact us or email me the pictures my email is Blondaronda@yahoo.com. we can exchange numbers there if you would email me a short note that would be a great start. again a thousand thank you’s We hope you get through this ok. It had to be very hard . I know it is for us……

  8. Rhonda Kennedy says:

    Hi Phillip Thank you so much for your information, We are so sorry you had to go through that. And very grateful to you for coming forward. could you please email my personal amail add at blondaronda@yahoo.com please. we would like to ltalk to you further. and yes if you could email the pics that would be helpful. hard to view but help ful. this has been one of the hardest things to go through. no closure you know.. we had to go give dna just to identify him and that alone will take a month or two to get back. ( that ticks me off because they wont release him until then( making closure even harder) and you know if he had pulled a crime they would have that dna test back pronto) we hope you will be ok after having to seee that it must have been very diffucult to watch. again thank you very much our hearts go out to you and anyone who helped, wanted to help, or has had kind words for us, I check this often in hopes of something new . ( somehow it helps) anyway thank you……

  9. Rhonda Kennedy says:

    He was a 20 year veteran driver so if there are any Super dump drivers check your side walls make sure the tires are rated for the weight your carrying. Don had 20 yrs experience and was known as having above average skills. so please take the time and play it safe. This was horrific way to die. I hate the tought of anyone else dieing this way all because of a 300 dollar tire. Donny we love you rest in peace…

  10. Rhonda Kennedy says:

    Today is Sunday Dan is on his way to go talk to Dons boss. Im Praying it wasnt caused by cheap tires . If thats the case Dan is going to lose control. Its not getting any easier, I wonder if it ever really does.. why is all I can keep asking. why? I wish he was here right now , sitting accrpss the table from me talking and laughing and playing video games while we wait for Dan to get home. .. God I miss him…

  11. Philip says:

    Pictures are sent. Let me know if for what ever reason you did not get them..

  12. Rhonda Kennedy says:

    THA LOOK
    BEFORE HIS BROTHER GETS HOME. NOT SURE I WANT HIM TO SEE THEM. THANKS AGAIN
    I HOPE YOUR GONNA BE ALRIGHT ,,…

    1. Douglas packett says:

      Rhonda i am Judys brother douglas and Don and i had avery special relationship he was and still is a big brother to me ! tell Danny i will call him before friday Danny is my family and so is Steph and Reni anything i can do to help ease this i will ! Don is with Judy and the dogs and birds and cats in a better place then we can ever imagine ! Gone but not forgotten Don and Judy! I LOVE YOU SCABS TELL MY DAD I SAID HI !

  13. leslie says:

    Tell dan i am sorry to here about his brother my naneis leslie

  14. sister in law says:

    Don was my brother in-law. He was with my sister for well over 20 years. Judy and Don both left us way to young, but they are together again. They are at peace.

  15. Rhonda Kennedy says:

    ATTENTION: The MEMORIAL SERVICE for Don Ellis will be taking place on Friday the 5th at 2:00 pm At the Moores Mission Funeral Home at 1390 Monument Blvd. (near the dome theater)

    Yes they left us Way too yound and way too soon I might Add.

  16. MARIE IGNACIO says:

    i just heard of the tragic accident of my dear friend don…. him n judy were more than friends they were like my mom n dad. i was the daughter they never had lol… well close runner up next to katelyn n steph! wen jesse marie told me i was in disbelief that he was gone he was all i had left besides dougie n jesse marie. of judy… to his family i am so sorry for your loss. i will never forget his loud cowboyish yells wen the raiders were playing. he n my son markie had a very close relationship, he took my son fishing for the first time n my son caught a CATFISH!!! FROM THAT DAY ON THAT WAS HIS NICK NAME!
    DON N JUDY FISH ON MY DEAR FRENZ! FISH ON!
    LOVE N RESPECT FOR LIFE
    MARIE SHALOM IGNACIO

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