Story Summary

Fiery Truck Crash Along I-80 in Davis

A truck caught fire Thursday morning along I-80 in Davis, blocking all lanes for about an hour or two.

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photoPETALUMA-

Residents of a quiet Petaluma neighborhood were astounded that of the couple killed in fiery collision on Interstate 80 Thursday lived on their street.

Phang Phetsomphou, 76, and his 74-year-old wife, Bouaket, lived on Cascade Court for more than a decade.

Family members and friends gathered at their home after word of the identities of the accident victims spread  Family members told FOX40 that they were still grieving and weren’t ready to talk about the couple.

Almost everyone knew of the widely reported accident in which the driver of a big rig lost control of his truck while eating behind the wheel.  His truck jumped the median after hitting two cars, then smashed head-on into the Phetsomphous’ BMW sedan. But no one imagined the victims might be neighbors.

Their identities were released the Sonoma County Coroner Fiday.

Several neighbors say Bouaket could be seen taking walks in the neighborhood sometimes with her grandchildren.  The couple otherwise kept to themselves.

Phang was retired from his job with the Sonoma County Human Services Department, where he served as a translator for fellow Laotian immigrants.  He helped found the Wat Lao Saysettha temple in nearby Santa Rosa where served as president until recently.

People at temple say Phang was highly respected in the community, well educated and known for service to the community. They say he will sorely missed. The couple had four grown children and several grandchildren.

Deadly I-80 Crash Started by Choking on SandwichDAVIS-

John Manuszsk is heartbroken about the elderly couple who died after his big rig struck their car on the freeway and caught on fire Thursday morning.

From his hospital bed in ICU, Manuszsk told FOX40 this was a horrible accident that he couldn’t help.

He said he was chewing on french fries when he began to cough uncontrollably. The cough so severe, he blacked out. When he came to, the crash had already happened.

Manuszsk’s semi, heading east, had jumped over the center divide on Interstate 80 in Davis, and collided with the car of the 76 and 74-year-old couple of Petaluma.

“I’m so sorry for what happened. If there’s one thing you could do, let the family know how sorry I am. I don’t know why this happened, but there was nothing I could do,” Manuszsk said.

Manuszsk disputes earlier reports that he was distracted from driving because he was eating.

He said he’s an experienced driver with many years under his belt.

His wife told us she was concerned because her husband experienced problems swallowing, the night before the big crash.

Manuszsk remains at UC Davis Medical Center, where he is recovering from burns he suffered in the accident.

Local News
03/29/13

Couple Killed in I-80 Fiery Crash Identified

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A semi truck crossed the center divider and hit another car, catching fire Thursday.

SOLANO COUNTY-

A couple killed along I-80 when a semi crossed the center divider were from Petaluma.

Solano County identified them as Phang Phetsomphou, 76, and Bouaket Phetsomphou, 74.

The couple was driving west and had just passed Davis when they were hit by the semi, their car caught fire and both died in the accident.

The semi driver is still being treated in the hospital for burns and other injuries. He told the CHP he was eating, started coughing and blacked out. He then swerved from the eastbound lanes into westbound traffic.

It took hours for crews to remove the debris from I-80.

DAVIS-

We are all guilty of distracted driving at some point in our lives, but did you know that doing it can land you in a whole lot of trouble, even a manslaughter charge?

“The main focus should be operating a vehicle and at time we our vehicles become our office or our dining facility,” said Adrian Quintero, with the California Highway Patrol.

Quintero says that is why they ticket so many distracted drivers: they want to prevent accidents like Thursday’s semi-truck tragedy.

The driver of the truck was reportedly eating a fast-food breakfast when he choked and lost consciousness, crossed the median and hit a BMW head on. Both vehicles exploded and two people are dead.

Law enforcement will be out in full force starting April 1 as a part of their zero-tolerance campaign, actively looking for distracted drivers.

“Maybe they are driving too fast, maybe they are driving distracted, maybe we stop them from doing that and we save their life,” said Quintero.

Truck

A semi truck catches fire along I-80 in Davis after a crash that killed two people.
Courtesy: Bill Payne

DAVIS-

FOX40 has traced the ownership of a big rig involved in a deadly collision Thursday on I-80 in Davis.

Mendoza Distributing offered no comment when approached by a reporter with the Fox affiliate in Fresno. The small company is based out of a home, and its owner did not return multiple calls by FOX40.

The driver of the big rig has not been identified. He continues to recover at UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento. Two people were killed in the crash after the driver of the truck reportedly began choking on a sandwich he was eating and passed out.

Raley’s released a statement Thursday making it clear the grocery store chain was not involved in the crash. The truck was once owned by Raley’s but was later sold. An old logo was revealed in the charred remains of the truck.

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A semi truck that crossed the center divider and hit another car, catching fire.

DAVIS-

Westbound lanes of Interstate 80 near Old Davis Road reopened Thursday afternoon following a deadly crash that morning.

Those lanes, however, may close again in the evening so damage to the road from the crash can be repaired.

A semi truck crossed the center divide shortly before 11 a.m., hitting another car.

Two people are dead from the crash.

DAVIS-

A truck driver who caused an accident, resulting in two deaths and a fire along I-80 was eating at the time and reportedly choked.

The CHP says the driver of the semi truck was eating a sandwich while driving toward Sacramento, outside Davis. He choked, and passed out, causing him to first veer onto the shoulder, then into traffic, hitting two cars.

He then drove through the center divide, and slammed into a BMW car head-on in the westbound lanes. The BMW exploded on impact, killing the driver and passenger inside.

The semi truck also caught fire, and the driver has burn injuries.

The drivers in the first two cars that were hit were taken to the hospital to be checked out for bumps and bruises.

The eastbound lanes opened back up before 1 p.m. The westbound lanes will remain closed until CHP’s investigation is over, which could take a couple more hours.

Sam Cohen contributed to this report

Local News
03/28/13

Deadly I-80 Accident: Drivers Take Hwys 113 or 12

Truck

A semi truck catches fire along I-80 in Davis after a crash that killed at least one person.
Courtesy: Bill Payne

DAVIS-

Drivers wanting to go through Davis Thursday afternoon are being asked to use alternatives, including Highway 113 or Highway 12.

Emergency crews are working to remove crashed cars from multiple lanes of I-80 in both directions. At least two cars and a semi truck were involved in the accident.

Eastbound traffic could open in the early afternoon, westbound lanes will stay closed for several hours.

Local News
03/28/13

All Lanes of I-80 Closed for Deadly Accident

Truck

A semi truck catches fire along I-80 in Davis after a crash that killed at least one person.
Courtesy: Bill Payne

DAVIS-

At least one person died in an accident in Davis that has shut down both directions of I-80 traffic.

Just before 11 a.m., there were reports of a truck going off the road and catching fire. Initial reports from witnesses are that the truck collided with at least two other cars before crashing.

The CHP says there is at least one person dead from the accident, however there is no word who has died.

There is now a sigalert for both directions of travel along I-80 near Old Davis Road.

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