FULLERTON – It was an odd sight: A huge 18-wheeler, its cab crumpled, wedged into a two-story building.

FULLERTON – It was an odd sight: A huge 18-wheeler, its cab crumpled, wedged into a two-story building.

All morning on Sunday, dozens of neighbors at the North Hills apartment complex stood outside the yellow caution tape gawking at the scene, snapping photos and sharing experiences.

The Volvo tractor-trailer crashed into the building shortly after 6 a.m. Sunday, police said.

“I thought it was an earthquake,” said Josefina Estrada, who was asleep when the truck rammed into her family’s second-floor apartment.

The truck’s driver, a 44-year-old man, and his female passenger 42, were transported to UCI Medical Center with serious injuries, said Kathy Schaefer, division chief for the Fullerton Fire Department. 

Five apartments in the North Hills apartment complex were evacuated and deemed uninhabitable, Fullerton Police Sgt. Jon Radus said.

Estrada, 40, said she had minor injuries from drywall falling on her. She was treated at the scene for bruising on her right side.

Cristian, her 18-year-old son, ran from his bed to check on his mother and his sister Crystal, 2, who slept in the same room. “I seriously was in shock,” he said. “I didn’t know what was going on. The only thing that registered was that I had to get to my mom.”

The toddler was uninjured but began crying because of her mother’s screams, Cristian said.

His sister Adilene Estrada, 13, and brother Jesus Estrada, 16, also live there. The corner of the apartment where Jesus sleeps was completely taken out. Fortunately, Jesus spent the night with a cousin Saturday.

“I wouldn’t be talking to you right now if I had slept in my own bed,” he said.

A 40-year-old man in the damaged complex also had minor injuries, Radus said.

Radus said the initial investigation shows the tractor-trailer was traveling eastbound within the posted speed limit on the 600 block of the Imperial Highway. The truck suddenly veered from the No. 3 lane, struck the south curb, and hit the apartment building, causing “major structural damage.”

The complex stretches along Imperial Highway between Puente Street and Harbor Boulevard. The truck is labeled Bhandal Bros., of Hollister in Northern California.

Andy Castro-Aguilera, who lives in the complex, initially thought the accident was a street collision.

“I’m CPR certified so I ran out to see if I could help,” he said.

The truck driver, who was lying on the ground outside the cab, apparently had fainted, Castro-Aguilera said.

“I felt for his pulse and vitals,” he said. Then the man suddenly opened his eyes and, sounding panicked, Castro-Aguilera said, asked, “Where’s my girlfriend?”

Schaefer with the Fullerton Fire Department said occupants of the smashed unit were “very, very lucky.”

“It’s a miracle that no one inside the building was seriously hurt,” she said.

The investigation is ongoing.

Anyone with information about the collision should contact Fullerton Police Accident Investigator Corporal S. Bailor at (714) 738-6813. Anonymous callers can contact Orange County Crime Stoppers at 1(855) TIP-OCCS or www.occrimestoppers.org.

By Susan Christian Goulding, OC Register

18-wheeler crashes into occupied Fullerton apartment building

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The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters and electronic mail. Contacting us does not create an attorneyclient relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.