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San Ramon Police Estimate Twenty-Something Driver Doing 70 Mph Before East Branch Crash Tuesday

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You just don't see this every day... Photo: San Ramon PD

UPDATED with new information at 12:14 p.m. Wednesday:

A twenty-something driver late for class at DVC was apparently traveling at roughly 70 mph down East Branch Parkway in San Ramon Tuesday afternoon when he lost control of his Volkswagen Jetta, struck a tree, tore of the front end off his car and sent the engine flying out into the roadway.

Officers arrived on the scene to find the unidentified driver, remarkably, had escaped with a small bruise/scrape to his forearm.

“Amazing,” said one.

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That stretch of East Branch is posted at 40 mph.

It is anticipated the driver will be receiving a citation for a speed violation once the collision investigation is complete, officers said.

It was not known how he explained his tardiness to his instructor.

14 COMMENTS

  1. ….And how interesting it happened on a street called East BRANCH Parkway..
    get it ? 🙂

  2. Happens a lot on Pandora. Maybe it’s an awakening? I mean if the planet can support walking dead, vampires, werewolfies, and the like, is it really so surprising? The flora would eventually become self-aware. It was inevitable.

  3. OMG. No injuries!?!? What kind of car? What speed? Sounds like good saftey design and, above all, a lot of luck. Amazing.

    • Checking on the after-action report on this crash this morning and we’ll update ASAP. San Ramon has been hopping lately… stay tuned!

  4. There’s a ‘road block’ joke in here somewhere…

    Oh, wait — that was the joke.

    Disregard.

  5. After reading the update to the story I have to say that that driver was an idiot. Going 70 miles an hour down that street is insane. Usually hitting a tree causes death… he is one lucky person and I hope he has learned his lesson and has not been emboldened by this, thinking he’s now invincible.. good thing he didn’t kill somebody else. That kind of speeding should result in a suspended license for a while. I’m sorry I sound so stern here… but lives could have been lost here.

  6. Same here, Greg T. If I crashed into a tree at those speeds in a vehicle from my teens or twenties, I’d be dead. People today should be thankful to automotive engineering for all the save-your-ass technology built in to modern cars, which in turn makes them invincible, of course.

  7. I don’t know the street, but 70 in a 40 should not make you lose control in any modern car. I suspect he was going MUCH faster, or a factor other than speed was the cause. In any case he was lucky and dumb.

  8. I travel that street on a daily basis. And saw the aftermath of the accident first hand. The car probably skidded 100ft after hitting the tree. The front of the car was completely gutted. I’d say the driver was really, really lucky. I hope he gets some senses and do something useful with his life which was practically stolen from death. Also lucky was that nobody else was hurt. There are cyclist and pedestrian on that road fairly often. It was downhill, with a small curve. It was impossible that he was traveling faster than 70 going downhill. The best outcome from a terrible situation.

  9. @Dong: Maybe you meant “possible” instead of “impossible,” but I assure you than all modern cars are perfectly capable of navigating turns on 40MPH posted roads at 70MPH. Design guidelines are to not require more than ~1/6th of a G (~0.17 Gs) when going the speed limit. Virtually all passenger cars are capable of >0.8Gs, with sports cars typically able to handle 1.0G or more. Driving 70mph in a 40mph should result in no more than ~ 0.5Gs. It was driver error that caused this crash, not simply speed– unless he was going closer to 90MPH (0.8G).

    The handling limits I am quoting are for a smooth and controlled turns. Reading a text, looking up, being disoriented, and jerking the wheel can cause a crash at any speed.

    I am being pedantic and am not endorsing driving at 1.75X the speed limit, but, from an engineering perspective, driving at 1.75X the speed limit is generally not a big deal (unless you need to swerve suddenly, which is a legitimate reason for so much margin of safety).

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