So for those of you who haven’t heard, a big ol’ tanker truck filled with gasoline crashed and exploded on an overpass in Oakland. The overpass collapsed, effectively destroying the roadway that carried eastbound traffic off the Bay Bridge and onto 580 and 980 and Highway 24. It also ruined the connector from southbound I-80 to I-880.
In other words if you live or work in Oakland you’re pretty much screwed.
The good news is that nobody died. The crash happened at around 3:50 on a Sunday morning and it only involved the tanker truck, which was being driven by James Mosqueda. Let me say that again, the crash ONLY involved the tanker truck. No one cut Mosqueda off, no one rammed into him, he crashed that thing all by his lonesome. Miraculously he not only survived but walked away from the accident, although he did suffer from many third degree burns.
Mosqueda is 51 years old and he wasn’t drunk or doped up and as far as anyone can tell he wasn’t sleep deprived. They do think that he was speeding. In a Tanker. On an overpass. He was a fairly new driver in that he had only received a license that allowed him to drive big-rigs carrying hazardous materials less than a year ago. It’s safe to say that his new career isn’t off to a very good start.
Please forgive my flippancy because I honestly do feel for the guy. We ALL make mistakes, some of them while driving. It hasn’t happened for a while but there have been times in my life when I cut someone off accidentally and it wasn’t long ago at all when I gave into the temptation to speed. I’ve been lucky in that I’ve never caused a major accident and let’s face it, if any person can honestly say that he/she has never caused an accident it probably is due, at least partially, to luck. Even the best drivers have their (m)bimbo-moments. We just hope that we don’t have those moments at the same time and place as another driver is having that same kind of moment. And here this guy had gone out and tried to better his life by starting a new career at the ripe ol’ age of 51 and now, because of a mimbo moment, he’s fucked the entire Bay Area.
And he really, really has. Approximately 35,000 cars travel the two-lane I-880 connector EACH. DAY. And 45,000 cars use the I-580 connector daily. Rebuilding that connector is literally going to cost tens of millions of dollars. And then there’s San Francisco, a city whose economy is completely dependant on its accessibility. As it’s predicted that commuters are going to become increasingly reliant on public transportation San Francisco will be adding station agents to help passengers transfer from the Bay Area Rapid Transit to SF’s Muni. There will also be extra Muni buses to deal with potential overcrowding at the Ferry Building by the Transbay Terminal. BART (a commuter train that runs throughout the Bay Area) will be adding extra trains during commute times and lengthen the trains they already have. The crash happened Sunday and it’s already cost SF $500,000.
So yeah, I feel bad for Mosqueda. But on the other hand there’s a part of me that can’t help but wonder if speeding in a tanker on an overpass goes beyond a forgivable mimbo moment. I mean you just don’t do that! Of course he’s already suffering the consequences. He’s burned for God’s sake and I think it’s safe to assume that he’s unemployed and that it’s going to be difficult to impossible for him to find more work.
I don’t know, I have very mixed feelings about this---mixed feelings about James Mosqueda that is. My feelings about the overpass and the commuter nightmare are pretty much in line with everyone else’s---it sucks, sucks, SUCKS.
Then again, I don’t really have to deal with it but for those of you who do you have my sympathy, big time.
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