Truck Driver Run Over By Own Trailer at Port of Long Beach Last Week, Police Say

A truck driver was fatally struck by his own vehicle last week at the Port of Long Beach (POLB) when he attempted to unlatch a trailer from his tractor, which was not adequately parked, authorities said. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters held a press conference yesterday demanding more information from port. Details regarding the fatality were released by the Long Beach Police Department (LBPD) today.

Long Beach port police responded to the industrial accident at 700 Pier A Way, at about 8:47AM on Wednesday, September 16, where they discovered Los Angeles resident William Vasquez, 26, lying on asphalt next to a trailer and about 30 feet behind a 2009 Sterling 3-axle tractor, according to a press release from the LBPD. 

He was pronounced dead at the scene by Long Beach Fire Department (LBFD) personnel, officials said.

Investigators believe the victim exited his tractor without setting the emergency brake and without putting it in park, then tried to unlatch the trailer—while on his cell phone at the time—when the trailer slowly began to roll forward, the release stated.

Vasquez was then struck and run over by the trailer, officials said.

“Mr. Vasquez’s death was unfortunate,” said POLB CEO Jon Slangerup in a statement. “Our sympathies go to his family and friends. Cal/OSHA is currently investigating his death, which occurred Sept. 16 at a privately operated terminal.”

According to a release issued by the Teamsters yesterday, Vasquez is survived by his mother, father and three siblings. 

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Stephanie Rivera is the immigration and diversity reporter for the Long Beach Post. Growing up as one of six kids in the working-class immigrant suburb of South Gate, she was taught the importance of civic engagement and to show compassion for others. After graduating from CSULB with a degree in journalism, Stephanie worked for Patch Latino and City News Service before coming to the Long Beach Post in 2015. An avid Harry Potter fan, Stephanie now lives in Bixby Knolls with her boyfriend and their bearded dragon, Austin.
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