News


Sleeping driver causes rollover crash on University Avenue

Police report that only minor injuries occurred

A silver Nissan Murano that appeared to be heading west on University Avenue crossed the center median and landed on its roof on an eastbound lane on March 8, 2019. Photo by Sue Dremann.

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.

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Comments

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

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


15 people like this
Posted by Need an editor
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 8, 2019 at 4:42 pm

Need an editor is a registered user.

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.


4 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 8, 2019 at 8:53 pm

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.


2 people like this
Posted by Curious
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 8, 2019 at 10:51 pm

[Post removed.]


6 people like this
Posted by need reading glasses
a resident of another community
on Mar 9, 2019 at 8:14 am

@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"....


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

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.


11 people like this
Posted by Tommy G
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Mar 9, 2019 at 11:23 am

He was texting. Sleeping = texting.


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

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.


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

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.


Like this comment
Posted by S Brady
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Mar 9, 2019 at 4:27 pm

S Brady is a registered user.

"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.


9 people like this
Posted by Judy/BMW
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Mar 9, 2019 at 6:42 pm

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.


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

"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.


2 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 9, 2019 at 8:27 pm

>> 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?


2 people like this
Posted by Bumps Ensure Safe Driving
a resident of another community
on Mar 9, 2019 at 9:06 pm

> 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.


3 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 9, 2019 at 10:17 pm

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


5 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 9, 2019 at 11:17 pm

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


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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