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I was deeply saddened by the death of David Lopez late last month. According to the California Highway Patrol, David Lopez, 45, of San Ramon, was hit by a truck that was pulling two trailers in the right westbound lane of I-580. Although the driver, just west of Rowell Ranch Road, swerved to miss Mr. Lopez, Mr. Lopez came on to the roadway so quickly that there was nothing he could have done. The big rig struck Lopez and killed him.

What is especially sad is that, according to witnesses, this was no traffic accident, but was instead a suicide. The witnesses described Lopez running from the shoulder directly into the path of the big rig. Lopez was killed on impact, according to responding emergency medical services (EMS) crews. CHP officials further stated that a car was at the scene, but officials did not disclose whether the vehicle in question belonged to Lopez.

An additional collision occurred as a result of the initial big rig collision. Apparently another vehicle swerved to avoid the crash scene and hit two vehicles which had stopped to render aid Mr. Lopez and the truck driver. It was not reported if the semi-truck driver or other drivers in the second crash were injured in the collision. CHP deputies did not state if anyone received a traffic citation for the incident, but a full investigation is underway.

I obviously have sympathy for Mr. Lopez’family and loved ones, but as a Bay Area traffic accident attorney I have even more sympathy for the truck driver and witnesses. I have read many comments to this story and many of the witnesses have been severely traumatized. I can only imagine what the truck driver himself is going through. Now, I don’t know exactly what caused Mr. Lopez to end his life in this tragic way that affected so many, but I do know that depression is very treatable. Even if you do not have insurance or money to pay for therapy, the Bay Area has many, many resources available, at no cost, to assist if you are depressed or suicidal, such as the San Francisco Suicide Prevention Crisis Line. You do not need to be suicidal to call and talk with someone. If you live in San Francisco call the 24 hour line at 415-781-0500. If you live outside of San Francisco you can call 1-800-273-TALK or 1-800-273-8255. These numbers can offer you local referrals for counseling.

So, if you are, or someone you care about is, depressed or suicidal, or if you just need someone to listen, please take advantage of the resources available to you. No matter how bleak things seem, there are people who care and you do have options.


  1. How much must one hate himself to run in front of a moving truck? I asked a similar question when my first cousin leaped from a nine story building on his 30th birthday almost 25 years ago. In his altered reality, this good looking young man claimed that he "hated his face", so he smashed it into the concrete, nine stories below. As you correctly point out, mental illness is a serious, but treatable disease. The public should treat mental disease as seriously as they do physical disease. Help is available but it must be sought. If you think someone is in trouble, do what you can to get him/her into treatment. Thank you, Claude, for raising this important issue and providing valuable resources for people in need.

  2. I lost one of my dearest friends to suicide in 2008 and he sadly not the first of my friends to take this horrible path to nowhere. As a mutual friend stated succinctly, he found a permanent solution to a temporary problem. I do believe that most suicides are preventable, and encourage anyone who has any suicidal ideation to immediately seek help. And watch the drugs they give you as they may make the condition even worse. This is not something you should go through alone. someone who cares about you should pay attention to the medication you are prescribed and whether it is helping or making you more depressed.

  3. Gravatar for Truckie D

    I do wish you had titled this story something like "Pedestrian commits suicide by truck" -- that would be a bit more accurately descriptive of the events described.

    While the death of Mr. Lopez is indeed a tragedy, who is going to help the truck driver? He's almost certainly going to suffer long-term psychological consequences, not to mention the wages that he's going to lose having to deal with the aftermath -- the paperwork alone is a nightmare to deal with.

    Where's the justice going to come from for him?

  4. I agree that your suggestion for a title would also be fitting. I was recently consulted by a San Francisco Muni bus driver who had injured a pedestrian and who wanted to sue the City of San Francisco because the bus had known blind spots. When the driver struck the pedestrian due to a blind spot, he was understandably very upset. This emotional distress will stay with him a very long time. What I believe is important to note is that pedestrian safety and truck accident prevention is a group effort. We all need to work together to improve safety for truckers and pedestrians. Accidents are rarely caused by only one factor. Accidents are usually the result of a perfect storm of factors, many of which can be avoided if everyone acts reasonably and no one acts negligently. Thank you sincerely for your comment, Claude

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