Coroner identifies trucker killed in highway crash

An aerial view of Sargent Ranch's borders, just south of Gilroy.

The Santa Clara County Coroner’s Office has identified the
65-year-old San Leandro truck driver killed Friday in a solo crash
on Highway 101 near San Benito County.
The Santa Clara County Coroner’s Office has identified the 65-year-old truck driver killed Friday in a solo crash on Highway 101 near San Benito County.

The San Leandro resident killed was Manuel Suarez Palma, according to the coroner. He died Friday morning when he was driving a tractor-trailer on Highway 101 north of San Benito County and lost control, causing the vehicle to run off the road and hit a guard rail, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The accident occurred around midnight. The driver, whose identity was not immediately released, was northbound in a 2005 International Tractor at an unknown speed when he made an unsafe movement to the right, with the vehicle to turning off the east edge of the road and coming in contact with the guard rail, according to a statement from the CHP.

The truck continued in a northerly direction and came to a rest on the highway, blocking the entire northbound lane.

That area of the highway near Sargent Ranch, between Betabel Road and Highway 25, was closed for more than nine hours. The CHP diverted traffic at Betabel Road. One lane reopened at about 9:30 a.m., according to the CHP.

It is still under investigation. It is unclear whether alcohol or drugs played a role, according to the CHP.

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