A truck accident in Southern California killed two inmates from a county fire crew and injured several others. The truck was full of a dozen inmates who were acting as a supplemental fire department hand crew and were tasked with digging fire breaks and trenches. A passenger vehicle collided with the truck head-on, causing the accident. The truck then rolled more than 150 feet, spilling some inmates onto the pavement and trapping others. Emergency responders had to use special equipment to free some of the inmates. The driver of the vehicle that collided with the truck was also pronounced dead at the scene.
Using inmates from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to help in fighting brush fires has been a regular practice for several years. These crews help to augment other hand crews composed of actual firefighters, and the inmate crews are supervised by county firefighters. According to the California Highway Patrol, the driver of the car that collided with the truck was an elderly man whose vehicle veered across the center line. The reason for his reckless driving was not reported.
Truck accidents are generally more devastating than those involving passenger cars, due to the increased weight and size of the vehicle and the force caused when it impacts another vehicle or object, such as a tree. Semi-truck accidents are particularly destructive, and lead to even more serious injuries to drivers and passengers. Because the truck carrying the inmates in this accident was an open work truck, the injuries were much more severe.