Brass plumbing fixture flies off Caltrans truck and kills driver on Bay Area highway

Share via

An 82-year-old man was killed when a brass plumbing end cap fell off a California Department of Transportation truck, flew into his windshield and then struck him in the neck, triggering a crash on Highway 101 near Palo Alto, officials said Monday.

The Caltrans water truck was driving between job sites on the highway Friday afternoon when the brass cap from a plumbing fixture somehow came off the vehicle, spokesman Myeast McCauley said.


According to the California Highway Patrol, the cap likely fell off the truck and was kicked up by passing traffic and launched into the air and into the path of Louis Schaefer’s minivan.

Schaefer was driving in the northbound freeway lanes at about 1 p.m. when the end cap smashed through his windshield and struck him on the left side of neck.

He then crashed into the center divider and continued driving until his minivan finally came to a stop near University Avenue.

The Mountain View man was pronounced dead the scene.

Caltrans is now working to determine how the cap came off their truck, McCauley said.

In a statement, Caltrans offered “its deepest condolences to Mr. Schaefer’s family and friends.”

For breaking news in California, follow VeronicaRochaLA on Twitter.



Man in wheelchair killed by hit-and-run driver in Pomona

Long Beach police to release video in mysterious August slayings of mother, 4-year-old daughter

A mystery for police after 19-year-old Marine is shot in South L.A.: ‘He’s fighting for his life’