Answers Still Vague in Horrific La Mesa Big Rig Accident

Two days after a big rig overturned in La Mesa, killing a mother and daughter and seriously injuring a 6-year-old girl, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) and the trucking company involved in the crash are leaving the investigation - vague.

CHP has ruled out alcohol or drugs as a factor in the crash.

Officer Benjamin Demarest told NBC 7, CHP will not provide the driver's name for the "safety of the driver."

NBC 7 has asked the company, Swift Transportation, in three separate emails, if the driver of that truck has been suspended or terminated. Cozette Phifer, the Vice President of Marketing and Communications for the Company, has not answered that question. 

"I’m very sorry for the continued delay," Phifer wrote to NBC 7. "As you might imagine, we have a lot of people who are extremely concerned and very involved with this situation." 

Phifer also wrote it has been very "challenging" for the driver to get all the information, but she is "grateful NBC 7 gave Swift Transportation the opportunities to respond."

Meanwhile, Timothy Thompson, who lost both of his mom and his sister in the crash, said as of Friday, he still has not received any answers from CHP or from the company.

"I just want to know why my mother and sister are not here anymore," Timothy wrote to NBC 7.

Previous OSHA Violation Reveals Swift Transportation Failed to Report Worker's Illness in 2016

The Company involved in the crash, Swift Transportation, has 10 OSHA violations on record in various states, including California and Arizona.

NBC 7 obtained a copy of an incident that occurred in Fresno California in Aug. 2016. Before NBC 7 obtained the report, Swift Transportation said the incident was "unique" and had been recently resolved.

When NBC 7 received a copy, the unique incident revealed a Swift Transportation worker hurt himself on the job on Aug. 12, 2016, when he was unloading merchandise at the Dollar Tree Store in Fresno, California.

The report states the worker "over exerted himself" and continued working through the end of the day. He drove home and rested the following day, August 13.

Two days after his accident, on Sunday Aug. 14, 2016, the unnamed worker told his supervisor he was feeling ill, but continued to work. The next day, he was in the hospital.

It was not until 57 and a half hours that worker left the hospital.

Six days after the worker was injured on the job, on Aug. 18, Swift Transportation reported the accident to OSHA. An OSHA spokesperson told NBC 7, companies are supposed to report a worker's injury within 8 hours.

OSHA isn't certain this latest accident is grounds for notification and has not been notified of this accident.

After learning these details Friday, NBC 7 emailed Swift Transportation's Cozette Phifer again.

Phifer wrote back the case was "unrelated" and "very unique."

What's Next in the Investigation

CHP investigators are trying to determine why the big rig overturned. At this time, Officer Demarest said there are not any clear details CHP can disclose.

CalTrans Public Information officer Cathryne Bruce-Johnson said they are currently doing an evaluation of the repairs.

"We will repair this particular damage to the safety structure [the bridge] from this accident," Bruce-Johnson said. "We will make repairs according to state and federal standards." 

It is unknown how much the cost of repairs will be. 

As for Swift Transportation, Cozette Phifer, the Vice President of Marketing and Communication for the company, said the investigation is ongoing and will not be complete "for some time."

"Because of that, we aren’t able to comment on specific personnel or decisions concerning our personnel, right now,” Phifer wrote. "All I can really tell you is that our hearts go out to all involved, including their friends and family.  We are doing all we can to determine what happened, how it happened and how we can make sure it doesn’t happen, again."

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