Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Trailer Hitch Comes Loose, Kills Innocent Driver

Trailer Hitch Comes Loose, Kills Innocent Driver

Improperly installed trailer hitches can claim lives, like the one that smashed into an SUV, killing Sean O'Shea in Sorrento Valley Thursday.

Family and friends describe 32-year-old Sean O'Shea as a compassionate soul and a successful La Jolla yoga instructor.

"Just real pleasant, soft-spoken, kind… I'm so disappointed for his family," friend Mary Rhatigan said.

Thursday afternoon, Sean was driving southbound on Interstate 5 when a trailer hitch flew through his front windshield and killed him instantly. CHP investigators have three theories on how it happened. Perhaps another driver forgot to correctly fasten the hitch with its safety pin.

"Another theory is that it could have been part of a load, it could have been in the back of a truck with other items, or it could have been stationary in the road and hit by another vehicle with enough force to actually get it up off the ground and get it airborne," Brad Baehr of the CHP said.

Investigators say six inches in either direction, and the hitch would have missed O'Shea altogether. Instead, a tragedy, and the CHP says it someone knows they're responsible for this, they need to step forward.

"Obviously, there is a fatality involved, there is a lot of liability," Baehr said. "It could go a multitude of directions, but I think it's safe to say straight across the board it truly was an accident."

A 26-year-old woman was in the SUV with O'Shea during the accident. She was not injured.

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