CHP: Santa Paula truck driver killed when big rig loses wheel

August 31, 2011
Santa Paula News

A Santa Paula man was killed Thursday afternoon when the big rig he was driving lost a wheel before slamming into the center divider on the northbound Golden State Freeway.

Frank Arias, 40, died in an accident reported about 2:54 p.m. August 25 on the northbound Golden State (5) Freeway at Vista del Lago Road near Pyramid Lake in northern Los Angeles County.

The California Highway Patrol reported that Arias died after the left-front tire of his 1973 Peterbilt truck separated, causing the vehicle - loaded with oil, lemons and limes - to veer into and collide with the center divider. The force of the collision caused Arias to be ejected and strike the metal guardrail. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The Peterbilt truck overturned in the southbound lane, spilling its load across the highway, which was closed on both sides for varying times to allow the CHP to conduct their investigation and the highway to be cleared. Traffic was diverted at Vista del Lago while other traffic was routed through on the right shoulder.

All lanes were opened by Friday morning. No other injuries were reported.

There is no suspicion that alcohol or drugs had anything to do with the fatal accident, which so far is believed to have resulted solely from the mechanical failure of the wheel. The investigation, according to the CHP, is continuing.

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