News

Sleeping driver causes rollover crash on University Avenue

Police report that only minor injuries occurred

A sleeping driver caused a chain-reaction crash with two other cars before flipping over on its roof on University Avenue in downtown Palo Alto Friday afternoon, which resulted in minor delays in the area, according to police.

The crash between three cars — a black BMW and two silver Nissans — happened around 2 p.m. in the University Avenue underpass near Alma Street.

A man fell asleep while behind the wheel of a Nissan Murano, which crashed into a Nissan Rogue stopped at a traffic light, police Agent Heather Souza said. Police don't know how fast the Murano was traveling, but the force of the first crash caused the Rogue to run into a black BMW also waiting at the light.

The Murano crossed over the center median and landed on its roof in an eastbound lane, she said. The car's airbags deployed and its roof and windows were smashed.

The Murano driver complained of pain, which is considered minor injuries, and was transported to a hospital, Souza said.

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The Rogue, which was carrying passengers, stopped in the left westbound lane. It had minor to moderate damage on its front and left sides. The Rogue driver's head hit the windshield, but he didn't seek to get further medical treatment at a hospital, according to Souza.

The BMW, which was also transporting a passenger, had minor to moderate damage to its rear.

Initial police-scanner reports indicated passersby attempted to extricate a person inside the Nissan Murano but were unable to do so.

University was closed in both directions near Alma until shortly after 3 p.m. for the investigation, to tow the vehicles away from the scene and to clear debris from the roadway, Souza said. The crash resulted in minor delays on El Camino Real and Alma as traffic backed up and police directed traffic.

In light of Friday's crash, Souza advised the public to find an alternative means of transportation if they are too tired to operate a vehicle.

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Sleeping driver causes rollover crash on University Avenue

Police report that only minor injuries occurred

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 3:17 pm
Updated: Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 4:02 pm

A sleeping driver caused a chain-reaction crash with two other cars before flipping over on its roof on University Avenue in downtown Palo Alto Friday afternoon, which resulted in minor delays in the area, according to police.

The crash between three cars — a black BMW and two silver Nissans — happened around 2 p.m. in the University Avenue underpass near Alma Street.

A man fell asleep while behind the wheel of a Nissan Murano, which crashed into a Nissan Rogue stopped at a traffic light, police Agent Heather Souza said. Police don't know how fast the Murano was traveling, but the force of the first crash caused the Rogue to run into a black BMW also waiting at the light.

The Murano crossed over the center median and landed on its roof in an eastbound lane, she said. The car's airbags deployed and its roof and windows were smashed.

The Murano driver complained of pain, which is considered minor injuries, and was transported to a hospital, Souza said.

The Rogue, which was carrying passengers, stopped in the left westbound lane. It had minor to moderate damage on its front and left sides. The Rogue driver's head hit the windshield, but he didn't seek to get further medical treatment at a hospital, according to Souza.

The BMW, which was also transporting a passenger, had minor to moderate damage to its rear.

Initial police-scanner reports indicated passersby attempted to extricate a person inside the Nissan Murano but were unable to do so.

University was closed in both directions near Alma until shortly after 3 p.m. for the investigation, to tow the vehicles away from the scene and to clear debris from the roadway, Souza said. The crash resulted in minor delays on El Camino Real and Alma as traffic backed up and police directed traffic.

In light of Friday's crash, Souza advised the public to find an alternative means of transportation if they are too tired to operate a vehicle.

Comments

resident
Community Center
on Mar 8, 2019 at 4:08 pm
resident, Community Center
on Mar 8, 2019 at 4:08 pm
14 people like this

How do you fall asleep at the wheel at 2pm? Thank god no pedestrians were hit on University Ave.


Need an editor
Registered user
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 8, 2019 at 4:42 pm
Need an editor, Duveneck/St. Francis
Registered user
on Mar 8, 2019 at 4:42 pm
15 people like this

This part doesn't make sense, "which crashed into a Nissan Rogue stopped at a traffic light, police Agent Heather Souza said. Police don't know how fast the Rogue was traveling"

I'm not a traffic investigator but I can tell you that if the Rogue was stopped at a traffic light, it was traveling at 0 mph.


CrescentParkAnon.
Crescent Park
on Mar 8, 2019 at 8:53 pm
CrescentParkAnon., Crescent Park
on Mar 8, 2019 at 8:53 pm
4 people like this

Wow, scary story.

We need to take note that drivers these days either do not seem to be able
to follow driving rules or cannot because they are overwhelmed, tired, distracted
or whatever. While I think true driverless vehicles we can trust are still quite a ways
off, there are collision avoidance systems that we need to make standard in all
cars as soon as possible to fix stuff like this.


Curious
Crescent Park
on Mar 8, 2019 at 10:51 pm
Curious, Crescent Park
on Mar 8, 2019 at 10:51 pm
2 people like this

[Post removed.]


need reading glasses
another community
on Mar 9, 2019 at 8:14 am
need reading glasses, another community
on Mar 9, 2019 at 8:14 am
6 people like this

@need an editor - the actual quote is: "A man fell asleep while behind the wheel of a Nissan Murano, which crashed into a Nissan Rogue stopped at a traffic light, …. Police don't know how fast the Murano was traveling"

-no reference to "how fast the 'Rogue' was traveling"....


Logic For A Waymo
Mountain View
on Mar 9, 2019 at 8:58 am
Logic For A Waymo, Mountain View
on Mar 9, 2019 at 8:58 am
2 people like this

This is exactly why all motorists in CA should be driving Waymo-equipped vehicles.

With Waymo technology, this would never have occurred.

Though a tad slow & overly cautious at times, Waymo protects both driver & passengers + others on the road.


Tommy G
Charleston Gardens
on Mar 9, 2019 at 11:23 am
Tommy G, Charleston Gardens
on Mar 9, 2019 at 11:23 am
11 people like this

He was texting. Sleeping = texting.


Anonymous
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 9, 2019 at 11:58 am
Anonymous, Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 9, 2019 at 11:58 am
6 people like this

I realize people reading this are likely to be concerned about what happened and not the problem, but please try to guide and stop your friends, family members, bosses, visitors, rideshare drivers from texting while driving. It’s too much around here. In particular, rideshare drivers are stopping suddenly at random spots in the middle of a road with flowing traffic or at street corners where it is incorrect to suddenly stop. They act unfamiliar with the city and don’t care who else is around them. Eyes on their cellphone.
Overturning this vehicle sounds really hard to explain. I am interested in the driver’s explanation.


Did The Driver Have Turkey For Lunch?
Old Palo Alto
on Mar 9, 2019 at 12:24 pm
Did The Driver Have Turkey For Lunch?, Old Palo Alto
on Mar 9, 2019 at 12:24 pm
4 people like this

is it possible that the driver had turkey or a turkey sandwich for lunch?

There is a natural chemical in turkey that makes people sleepy after eating it...it happens at every holiday dinner.

The amount of turkey consumed also is a factor.


S Brady
Registered user
Los Altos Hills
on Mar 9, 2019 at 4:27 pm
S Brady, Los Altos Hills
Registered user
on Mar 9, 2019 at 4:27 pm
Like this comment

"I fell asleep" is now the new car accident mantra. It erases all personal responsibility. This driver had to have known this or made a quick call to his lawyer. He is fortunate that no one was killed, but even if they had been killed, "I fell asleep" would get him off.


Judy/BMW
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Mar 9, 2019 at 6:42 pm
Judy/BMW, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Mar 9, 2019 at 6:42 pm
9 people like this

They need to have more of those bumpy things on the lines between the lanes. That way if a person falls asleep while driving, if he/she crosses over to the other lane the bumpy things will hopefully wake them up.

This has worked for me on Interstate 80 when I've fallen asleep while driving.


resident
Community Center
on Mar 9, 2019 at 7:38 pm
resident, Community Center
on Mar 9, 2019 at 7:38 pm
7 people like this

"I fell asleep" or "I didn't see him" may be an excuse for the media, but in reality that is essentially an admission of guilt and you will automatically lose any court case or insurance settlement.


CrescentParkAnon.
Crescent Park
on Mar 9, 2019 at 8:27 pm
CrescentParkAnon., Crescent Park
on Mar 9, 2019 at 8:27 pm
2 people like this

>> That way if a person falls asleep while driving, if he/she crosses over to the other lane the bumpy things will hopefully wake them up.

Not necessarily. If the bumps are not close enough together, or the driver is not moving at sufficient speed or changes lanes at wide of an angle not enough bumps will be hit to generate noise and vibration.

If you are depending on those things to keep you awake and alive on Interstate 80 - I wish you best of luck in the future.

People just do not know how to drive and/or have good judgement any more. Why is this?


Bumps Ensure Safe Driving
another community
on Mar 9, 2019 at 9:06 pm
Bumps Ensure Safe Driving, another community
on Mar 9, 2019 at 9:06 pm
2 people like this

> They need to have more of those bumpy things on the lines between the lanes.

Yes. That's what they are there for...to let you know you are drifting, either while driving or dozing off.

> If the bumps are not close enough together, or the driver is not moving at sufficient speed or changes lanes at wide of an angle not enough bumps will be hit to generate noise and vibration.

No one drives slow on the freeway unless they are old people or from another country. At 65-70 mph, you will hear & feel the bumps.


CrescentParkAnon.
Crescent Park
on Mar 9, 2019 at 10:17 pm
CrescentParkAnon., Crescent Park
on Mar 9, 2019 at 10:17 pm
3 people like this

Bumps .... University Ave. is not a freeway.


musical
Palo Verde
on Mar 9, 2019 at 11:17 pm
musical, Palo Verde
on Mar 9, 2019 at 11:17 pm
5 people like this

The bright side -- how many million drivers did NOT flip their vehicles yesterday?


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