The Arizona Republic
Apr. 2, 2005 12:00 AM An 8-year-old Queen Creek boy died Thursday night in Gilbert when a large trailer broke loose from a truck and struck the car his mother was driving, police said.
Emergency responders performed CPR on Henry Reyes but could not save him from internal injuries suffered during the collision.
His 34-year-old mother, Sandra Reyes, and her two other children inside the vehicle did not sustain life-threatening injuries.
It was the first traffic fatality in Gilbert since Aug. 26 when a trailer, pulled by a truck, ran over a landscape worker who died from internal injuries, police said.
On Thursday, a detached, double-axle trailer was eastbound on Williams Field Road when it apparently crossed into oncoming traffic and collided head on with Sandra Reyes' mid-size Pontiac sedan, police said.
The crash occurred about a half mile west of Higley Road at 7:24 p.m.
Henry, who was riding in the rear seat on the passenger side, had his seat belt was across his midsection and not across his hips, said Gilbert police Lt. Joe Ruet.
There appeared to be no significant damage to the vehicle where the boy was sitting, Ruet said.
Across from Henry, a jack handle impaled the car seat of his 3-year-old sister, Cayla, but the tool did not make it through to her body. She apparently escaped with no serious injuries.
"Her little car seat probably saved her life," Ruet said.
Gilbert police Sgt. Michael Angstead said the car seat was made of tough plastic material designed to hold up during high impact collisions.
"Thank goodness those seats are made to withstand car accidents," he said.
Sandra suffered a broken pelvis and facial injuries.
Her 14-year-old son, Jonathan, in the front passenger seat had facial injuries and lost some teeth, said Ruet, stating that the passenger-side airbag was not deployed.
Angstead said the crash bent the car's front hood straight up and took out the windshield.
"It looked like the vehicle hit a brick wall at a really high speed," he said.
The speed limit where the crash took place is 45 mph, Angstead said, but he did not have an estimate on how fast the car or trailer was moving.
Police are investigating what caused the trailer to detach from a large, industrial Chevrolet truck driven by a 28-year-old man who had two passengers in the cab and one in the truck's bed, Ruet said.
The trailer was at least 4 feet by 8 feet and was carrying what appeared to be dry wall or stucco materials, Angstead said.
Investigators are unsure why the trailer unhitched from the truck.
They found evidence indicating that a chain attaching the trailer to the truck broke apart, Ruet said.
Accident reconstructionists and officers trained to inspect commercial vehicles will work to determine if the trailer was being used in violation of transportation safety laws, Angstead said.
The crash comes on the heels of an extensive Department of Public Safety commercial vehicle training session in January attended by several Gilbert police officers, who learned how to inspect and weigh large vehicles.
Traffic Sgt. Scott Girardin said authorities expect an influx of trucks driving through town once the Santan Freeway is completed through Gilbert.