Back-Seat Driver

Who caused the California road rage crash captured in viral video? CHP weighs in

California Highway Patrol officers on Monday were still searching for the motorcyclist involved in a shocking Southern California freeway crash that went viral on video last week.

The video, taken on a Santa Clarita freeway shows a motorcyclist at high speed kicking a car in the carpool lane, causing the car to swerve and smash into the center divider in flames, then careen into a truck, knocking the truck upside down, causing moderate injuries.

We talked with CHP Officer Eric Priessman about what the video shows and who might be at fault. Here are his answers, paraphrased:

What’s the latest on the investigation?

We are still looking for the motorcyclist. We’ve put it out on social media. We’ve gotten several calls with information and passed that on to investigating officers.

Your take on this crash?

It shows how quickly something can go from relatively minor into something big. Aside from the motorcyclist kicking the car, this incident is similar to a lot of other freeway crashes. Most collisions would look like this.

Did the car enter the carpool lane illegally?

We can’t tell from the video.

Is the motorcycle in the Nissan’s blind spot?

It’s possible. One important lesson from this is to continually be aware of vehicles around you. This motorcycle is very large.

Is the motorcyclist at fault?

That is the first thing you see on the video, but we don’t know if that was the first thing that happened, whether something was going on prior to that. CHP needs to know what happened to initiate the incident. There are times when one driver is a primary cause, but another may have contributed to it.

Does the car swerve on purpose to block the motorcyclist, or is that just a startle reaction?

We can’t theorize at this point whether that was intentional or reactionary. I could see it either way.

The crash got wild fast, and an innocent driver got the worst of it.

Once a car hits the concrete median, it is going to bounce off in an unpredictable manner. The Nissan hit the SUV with a lot of force. It hit it right in the center.

Is the motorcyclist guilty of hit and run?

Not necessarily. A lot has to do with what his story is. The right thing to do would be to stop.

Should nearby motorists stop to help?

That is a choice, if you are not putting yourself or others in real danger. The overriding factor is safety. You can always call 911. Drivers are allowed to do that in emergencies.

Are videos like this changing your work?

Yes, in that videos help show what happened. Videos can back up or negate statements of people involved.